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Infections early in life may activate immune responses that prevent leukemia

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New research from the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital provides insight into how early-life infections may reduce the risk of Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most prevalent type of childhood leukemia.

ALL is caused when abnormal white blood cells are transformed into leukemia cells. In a common form of ALL, the abnormal cells are often produced before birth and children have a prolonged period before leukemia develops. Dr. Gregor Reid and his team found that when the immune system is exposed to infections during this pre-leukemic phase, the immune response also targets the abnormal white blood cells  and stops them from transforming into leukemia cells. Researchers used a mouse model of leukemia for this study.

Dr. Reid is an Investigator with the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UBC. The study was published in the October 2016 issue of Leukemia.

Research; BC Children's Hospital
Research
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