Leukemia in Children Already Developing Since Still in Womb

Leukemia or blood cancer is a disease most often diagnosed in children. This condition affects a third of young cancer patients and killed 100 children each year in the UK. However, until now no expert knows how the mechanism of this disease can infect children.

The team of researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research UK found that the root of the genetic causes of the emergence of leukemia or blood cancer in children can be known since they were still in the womb. So far, researchers only know if the leukemia is identical to damage a number of genes and environmental factors as a trigger. But for ALL, not many experts who know how to origins.

Then the researchers decided to study the coding DNA (DNA-coding) on ​​a number of identical twins because twins share the same DNA inherited from their parents. All participants had the most common form of leukemia in children is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or cancer of the white blood cells, and the average has been suffering from ALL since he was four years old.

By comparing samples of blood and spinal participants at an early age, the researchers also found an identical genetic mutation that occurred in participants in a gene causes leukemia children and commonly known as ETV6-RUNX1.

Researchers speculate that this mutation actually occurs in only one of the twins while in the womb, then the body's cells that have mutations that spread through the blood of his twin placenta that they enjoy together.

Overall the researchers also find out if the identical twins had 22 genetic mutations but none of these mutations are experienced both at once than that experienced by ETV6-RUNX1 gene, so definitely accumulate more mutations postpartum when ALL disease begins to develop in the body of a child.

"We managed to assemble the whole genome. From there we knew for the first time that this is the key mutations that initiate the process of leukemia occur in the child's body as a whole. Mutations others must occur after delivery," said lead researcher Professor Mel Graves as reported by the BBC , Wednesday (04/10/2013).

In other words, the root of ALL genetic cause is a mutation on a gene called ETV6-RUNX1 when the child is still in the womb.

Researchers hope the findings, published in the journal PNAS this can encourage the emergence of new drugs to fight the disease up to the roots. Because even though ALL can be cured, medicines used for children with ALL often lead to severe side effects that make patients feel discomfort.