blood-testsScientists at the University of Manchester UK have discovered great promise in a test which would change the manner in which physicians diagnose and monitor Cancerous Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, an all too common childhood Leukemia. The crux of the discovery is that the cells of Cancerous Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia manufacture secret “special structures” that can be found in a patient’s blood.

It has been a long held belief that the Extracellular Vesicles had little value in terms of fighting leukemia and that they were “debris” generated from a cancer cell. But their presence has been discovered within plasma from bone marrow, and their role in circulating blood has been uncovered in experiment using mice as test subjects.

This is important because even though there is a high success rate in the treatment of children with Cancerous Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, they are forced to suffer through repeated bone marrow biopsies to monitor treatment. Using this new information, scientists seek to decrease the number of bone marrow biopsies a child would be subjected to.

These “Vesicles” contain the protein known as “Actin,” and they have very characteristic and easily identifiable traits in regards to the parent cell — most notably, their branching structures. Scientists have demonstrated that cancerous leukemia cells are able to transfer parts of themselves (vesicles) throughout the body using the circulatory system.

By looking for these “Vesicles,” scientists are able to diagnose and monitor the progression of Cancerous Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Additionally, these “Vesicles” are internalized by other cells and lend themselves as excellent conduits for cellular communication. Scientists, encouraged by this discovery, have begun looking for these structures in other cancers.

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