Scientist Link Genetic Factors to Leukemia


In a new discovery, scientists have pin-pointed a mutation that makes people more likely to suffer from leukemia. The link has been established with the myeloid form of leukemia. This form is responsible for thousands of deaths every year.

The gene named GATA2 is responsible for the regulation of the maturation of the primitive cells into mature WBCs. And mutation in thisgene can lead to problems in maturation of the primitive cell. And the result is leukemia when the process of multiplication of blood cells goes uncontrolled.
This finding would help doctors locate to people with hereditary problems of leukemia. While the solid tumors like breast cancer have already been related with the family histories, it is very rare that blood cancer has been related with hereditary factors. The study has been conducted by Dr. Marshall Horwitz of University of Washington.

In 1992, the genetic mutation was first discovered in a patient of myeloid leukemia. This study has based its findings on four families that over generations had many patients of myeloid leukemia. The disease may occur anytime in the life after the onset of teen age. It took 18 years for the team to discover the mutation in the particular genes that was responsible for the disease. It has been located in over 20 families and individuals suffering from the myeloid leukemia.

β€œIt’s likely that this inherited error is more common than we had thought,” the scientists said. The mutation in many individuals causes the cancer. But apart from this many individuals with this mutation are more bothered about many bacterial and fungal infections as their capacity to fight these infections is reduced due to the problems in their white blood cells.


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