acute myeloid leukemia

Diagnosis or Treatment – What gets tabled fast?


Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) comes across as s kind of cancer wherein bone marrow tends to make hoards of abnormal blood cells. AML is likely to affect everything – right from red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Symptoms include feeling tired, fever, and bleeding or easy bruising. Tests related to bone marrow and blood are used for diagnosing AML.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia is better known as acute nonlymphocytic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia.

When it’s acute myeloid leukemia, myeloid stem cell turns out to be a kind of immature white blood cell termed as myeloblasts (splitting up as myeloid blasts).

Risk factors pertaining to Acute Myeloid Leukemia include older age, smoking, being male, and being subject to radiation therapy or chemotherapy previously. Also, the fact that having a history of myelodysplastic syndrome could lead to acute myeloid leukemia can’t be ignored.

How is Acute Myeloid Leukemia diagnosed?

The procedures/tests used for diagnosing AML include:

  • Health history and physical exam

Healthcare personnel examine the body for checking general signs like lumps or something that would sound unusual. They also look for health habits of patients.

  • Peripheral blood smear

It is a procedure wherein blood sample gets checked for types and number of white blood cells, alterations in blood, shapes, number of platelets, and blast cells.

  • CBC (Complete Blood Count)

Herein, blood sample is checked for all the contents as above except for blast cells.

  • Flow Cytometry

This procedure measures peculiarities of cells, like shape, size, and presence of tumors (or the other markers) on cell surface. It so happens that cells from patient’s blood sample, bone marrow, or the other tissues are stained, that too, with fluorescent dye. Thereafter, they are placed in liquid,, and passed through light beam (one at a time). The results are decided on the basis of reaction of stained cells to light beam.

  • Bone Marrow biopsy and Aspiration

This happens on removal of blood, bone marrow and a tiny piece of bone by insertion of hollow needle into breastbone or hipbone. Pathologist uses a microscope for checking for symptoms of cancer on viewing bone, blood, and bone marrow.

  • Molecular Testing

This is a laboratory test for checking for molecules, proteins, and genes in blood sample/bone marrow. These molecular tests do check for alterations in chromosome or gene, thereby seeing to it that AML exists or not. This test helps in making prognosis as well.

  • Immunophenotyping

This is a laboratory test using antibodies for identifying cancer cells based on types of markers or antigens on cells’ surfaces. For instance – cytochemistry tests cells of the tissue by using dyes to see through changes in sample. Color change indicates leukemia.

What would be the course (s) of Treatment?

Scientists belonging to Cold Spring Harbor in the US have discovered an “obscure protein” for fighting cancer. Ph.D student Sofya Polyanskaya and Professor Christopher Vakoc have found that the acute myeloid leukemia cells depend on protein termed as “SCP4” for survival. They have stated that either of the two similar kinases named PDIK1L and STK35 could pair with SCP4 for treating AML. This is a remarkable piece of research, especially when there are no prescribed treatments for AML.

In all, innovations would be the factor of turbulence for treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

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