Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can A Woman With Cancer Pass It On To Her Fetus?

Another great question on cancer!

Inheriting cancer in vitro is extremely rare. It appears that only 30 documented cases show the infant received cancer from the mother before birth. There was previously no genetic evidence to explain why a child’s immune system would not recognize and destroy any invasive cancer cells that were of maternal — and therefore, foreign — origin.

The new study, led by Mel Greaves, of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used advanced genetic fingerprinting to prove that an infant’s leukemic cells were unquestionably of maternal origin.

The case, involving a Japanese mother aged 28 and her daughter, revealed that both patients’ leukemic cells carried the identical mutated cancer gene BCR-ABL1 even though the infant had not inherited this gene.

This meant that the child, who had cancer diagnosed at 11 months old, could not have developed this type of leukemia in isolation.


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