Leukaemia cell ‘breakthrough’ offers treatment hope
Scientists believe they have made an important breakthrough in attempts to treat a form of childhood leukaemia.
In mice tests, Australian researchers found that a cell, which plays a key role in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, survives radiotherapy.
The Melbourne University team believes targeting this cell may help to stop this disease returning, but they warned much more research was needed.
UK experts said the findings may eventually lead to better care.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a rare form of leukaemia which is most common in older children and adolescents, although adults can also be affected.
About a fifth of children suffer relapses after radiation therapy.
In the tests, the team found that 99% of cells in the thymus, a small organ in the upper chest which helps protect people from infections and as a result plays a key role in leukaemia, were killed by radiation.