Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New test piloted for childhood leukaemia

05.08.2002


A new screening test to be piloted in Bristol could help to revolutionise the way children with leukaemia are treated by enabling doctors to fine tune treatment to the needs of each individual patient.



Experts from five centres - Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Sheffield - will pilot the test for the most common form of the childhood leukaemia - acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The team at the University of Bristol and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children is using special technology called RQ- PCR (real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction) to measure the residual cancer cells - known as minimum residual disease - that remain after a child`s treatment.

All children treated for this cancer will have some residual leukaemia cells in their bone marrow that remain after the first month of chemotherapy. The level may fluctuate between 1/20 cells and 1/ 10,000 cells. Research in the UK and Europe has shown that the higher the level of residual disease the more likely a child is to relapse. Until now, the problem has been that conventional techniques are not sensitive enough to accurately measure the levels of residual leukaemia cells.


Dr Nick Goulden from the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, says: "Preliminary studies have demonstrated that measuring residual disease enables us to predict whether a child will relapse. We hope that once this test is established in the UK doctors will be able to intervene at an earlier stage with more or less aggressive therapy based on the level of residual disease present in the blood and bone marrow."

In total the five research teams have been awarded £500,000 from the Leukaemia Research Fund to carry out a feasibility study before the test can become a central component of the next national trial (see notes for editors).

Once the genetic fingerprint of a leukaemia cell has been identified, the residual cells can be quickly and accurately tested using the new RQ-PCR technology. This is a relatively new technique which allows scientists to amplify a given sequence of DNA millions of times within the space of a few hours.

One family who understands the importance of this research is the Baggley family from Taunton, whose daughter Olivia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 1997 when she was five years old.

"It is only when you are faced with this disease that you realise how important research is to improving treatment," says Olivia`s mother Deborah. "I hope this research will make treatment simpler and even help to save the lives of children who may otherwise have relapsed and died."

Olivia - who is now 10 years - was treated with intensive chemotherapy at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. When the disease returned early in January 2000 the doctors decided the best option was a stem cell transplant. She has now been in remission for two years.

Dr David Grant, Scientific Director of the Leukaemia Research Fund, said: "This is a key step forward which should lead to better treatment for every single child who is diagnosed with this terrible disease."

"It should enable doctors to give more immediate and more appropriate treatment for children with a high risk disease. Equally, it would also allow doctors to identify children who could be cured with less intensive treatment, thereby reducing the gruelling side-effects of aggressive treatment," he added.

Around 21,500 people are diagnosed with leukaemia or one of the related blood disorders in the UK every year.

Leukaemia Research Fund is the only national charity devoted exclusively to improving treatments, finding cures and learning how to prevent leukaemia, Hodgkin`s disease and other lymphomas, myeloma and the related blood disorders, diagnosed in 21,500 people in Britain every year.

Further information, including patient booklets, is available from:
· your nearest LRF voluntary fundraising Branch (see Yellow Pages)
· LRF, 43 Great Ormond Street, London, WC1N 3JJ tel 020 7269 9068; emailinfo@lrf.org.uk; www.lrf.org.uk.

Joanne Fryer | alfa

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS

nachricht New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>