|Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia|| |
What is leukaemia?
Leukaemia* is a cancer of white blood cells, which grow in the bone marrow. In leukaemia, white blood cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner, occupying the bone marrow space and spilling out into the bloodstream.
As a consequence, the production of normal red blood cells (oxygen-carrying cells), white blood cells (cells that fight infection), and platelets (cells that help blood clot) is compromised. Therefore, patients with leukaemia are at risk of serious anaemia, infections, and bleeding.
What is chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)?
Chronic myeloid leukaemia, or CML, is one form of leukaemia. It is caused by the presence of the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome, an abnormality formed when pieces from two separate chromosomes break off and join together.
The Ph chromosome makes an unwanted protein called Bcr-Abl that causes the out-of-control production of myeloid white blood cells.
In CML, myeloid white blood cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner. It may take years for CML to progress because it is a slow-growing, or chronic, cancer. As CML progresses, patients advance through three phases: chronic phase, accelerated phase, and blast phase.
A healthcare professional can monitor these responses through routine blood tests. The type and frequency of these tests can be determined by a healthcare professional and may vary depending on the status of your disease. These tests vary in sensitivity and specificity— from haematologic testing, which measures the number of CML cells, to molecular testing, which measures the number of Bcr-Abl transcripts (messages Bcr-Abl sends to trigger the creation of more Bcr-Abl).
*Leukaemia: several acute (progresses quickly) or chronic (takes a longer time to progress) diseases of the blood; characterized by an abnormal increase in white blood cells.