Sunday, January 15, 2012
It creates apprehension and fear of impending death ,the advances in oncology notwithstanding death does play a big role in Cancer though its shadow is definitely being shortened day by day
We cannot group all Cancer into one it depends on the type ,the site the stage and the other problems associated with the patient ( we call it as comorbidities )
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is one amongst the four Leukemias ( blood cancer affecting the blood forming cells )
Chronic is the label given for the type of Leukemias with mature cells
( fully grown cells ) ( Chronic Myeloid or mature granulated white cells and Chronic Lymhoid Leukemia which had mature lymphoid cells ) and
Acute the type with immature growing cells ( called Blasts )
( Acute Lymphoblastic with predominantly lymphoblasts and Acute Myeloid Leukemias with myeloblasts or granulated cells )
The bone marrow is our factory churning out these cells incessantly while millions of cells get killed every other minute ,
all it needs is a small hitch and then something goes haywire in the assembly line .
Of course each cell has its genes carried in its chromosomes ( it would need a separate blog to explain this so let us leave it at that )
now in the APML affected cell there occurs a quirky switch from normal called Translocation
chromosome 17 in the cell is involved in a reciprocal translocation with the promyelocytic leukemia gene (PML) on chromosome 15, a translocation denoted as t(15;17)(q24;q21).
The fusion of PML and RAR creates a hybrid protein with altered functions.
This protien prevents further growth of promyelocytes into myelocytes and hence promyelocytes are produced in large numbers and are released into the blood stream .
These promyelocytes are abnormal and have toxic granules which burst out into the blood and this causes bleeding and clotting problems ( Diseeminated intravascular coagulation ) this can cause severe problems and can lead to sure death if not treated immediately .
Hence the importance of detecting APML in time which can be done only in centres trained to do so .
The RAR A is Retinoic acid gene ( Vitamin D is Retinoic Acid ) and when several isomers of Retinoic acid was used in APML it was found that the cis isomer of Retinoic acid called ATRA just reversed the action casued by the fusion of PML RARa and the promyelocytes started maturing into normal myelocytes !
Ooh la la
Suddenly the most fatal disease turned into most favourable one for treatment of course it wasn’t as simple as that as chemotherapy was also added to ATRA and had to be continued in several forms for at least two years
but fact is an incurable type of cancer become completely curable like magic .
Initially when ATRA was discovered it was available only in
China and during the Tianamen episode in history the supplies from stopped China
Roche the famous medical company produced its version and created history .
Similarly in CML there is a fusion between BCR and ABL genes forming a hybrid protien called BCR ABL which caused the mature myelocytes to go uncontrolled
Again a specific medicne coming under the class Tyrosine kinase inhibitors called imatinib mesylate proved to be the magic pill turning the CML from a dreaded disease into a manageable one .
Over time more versions of Imatinib came into being like Dasatanib and Nilotinib
These targetted therapies ( they target only the cancer cells ) and monclonal Antibodies form the backbone of cancer research and treatment today leading us to the inevitable day when Cancer would be even if not conquered become like say Diabetes or Hypertenison is today .
Let us pray for that day
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