Uppsala UniversityThis news may offer hope to parents having children with acute lymphatic leukemia. Researchers from Uppsala University and University Children’s Hospital in Uppsala claimed to have formulated potent new tools for typing cells from children with acute lymphatic leukemia and for envisaging how children with leukemia could react to chemotherapy.

Acute leukemia is claimed to be the most general form of childhood cancer. The new research illustrates that DNA methylation is said to be a potential mechanism for foreseeing development of the disease. DNA methylation is a supposed epigenetic alteration in the genome. Epigenetic changes are believed to be modifications of the genomic DNA that do not influence the DNA sequence compared to hereditary mutations.

The current research apparently examined DNA methylation of the DNA of bone marrow cells from around 400 children suffering from acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL) from the Nordic countries.

On the basis of an initial examination of around 8,000 human genes, the researchers chose about 400 genes for investigation of DNA methylation. Methylation analysis of only 40 genes apparently let subtyping of leukemic cells from the patients with a comparable accuracy as it is attained by cytogenetic methods regularly used now-a-days. The researchers apparently also examined groups of genes whose DNA methylation levels supposedly linked with the treatment response in ALL patients.

Professor Ann-Christine Syvänen of Uppsala University, commented, “Our findings indicate that analysis of DNA methylation of a limited number of methylated bases in DNA can be used as markers in a DNA test to identify those groups of patients who will not respond to leukemia treatment.”

In spite of new drastic enhancements in techniques of treatment for acute childhood leukemia, some groups of patients apparently do not react well to chemotherapy and went through relapses.

Hopefully, the outcome from the research may add to an augmented comprehension of epigenetic mechanisms that cause leukemia.

The research was published in the journal Blood.