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Research In Which The University Of Navarra Participated Provides New Clues To Causes Of Leukemia

June 1, 2010

The University of Navarra, together with the University of Oxford and three other European centres, are taking part in a project to discover the origin of myelodysplasia, an ailment with a predisposition to develop into leukaemia. In the work, patients from 19 hospitals in the north of Spain ““ including the University Hospital of Navarra – were analysed, as well as from England, Italy, Sweden and Germany.

The aim of the research, published recently in the Leukemia journal, is to look for molecular-level alterations “” genetic mutations, etc. “” that enable the development of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of leukaemia, and provide, moreover, a tool for monitoring the progress of patients subjected to specific treatment.

There are currently very different treatments for the group of ailments that we know as leukaemia and that are caused by different alterations. The problem lies in that they cannot now be classified solely with systems based on clinical symptomatology, given that in some cases patients do not manifest any alteration that makes this classification useful from a therapeutic perspective. Consequently, it has to be observed in greater detail ““ at a molecular level.

In this way, the research team at the University of Navarra confirmed that the presence of mutations in a determined gene is associated with more serious forms of leukaemia, giving rise to the possibility of a relation between these mutations and the advancing to the most serious stage of the ailment. Moreover, this gene is linked to the mechanisms that regulate the interaction between genes and the environment that surrounds us. In short, this is another finding that opens new doors to identifying the disease at its early stages.

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