9/28/2011 6:51:03 AM
A genomic study of chronic blood cancer - a precursor to leukaemia - has discovered gene mutations that could enable diagnosis using only a blood test, avoiding the need for an invasive and painful bone marrow biopsy. Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute identified the SF3B1 gene as being frequently mutated in myelodysplasia, one of the most common forms of blood cancer. Myelodysplasia is particularly prevalent among people over the age of 60, and often the only symptom is anaemia, which makes it a challenge to give a positive diagnosis. Patients with mutations in the SF3B1 gene frequently had a specific abnormality of red blood cells in their bone marrow, called ring sideroblasts.
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