Research ArticleCancer

Hematopoietic Stem Cell Origin of BRAFV600E Mutations in Hairy Cell Leukemia

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Science Translational Medicine  28 May 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 238, pp. 238ra71
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008004

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Finding the Origin Story for a Leukemia

The cells that give rise to a cancer called hairy cell leukemia are hematopoietic stem cells, the precursors for all the types of normal blood cells, according to a new study by Chung et al. Although hairy cell leukemia is usually thought to be derived from mature B cells, it has not previously been matched with any specific stage of normal B cell development. Now, the authors performed detailed genetic analysis of human leukemia samples and also modeled this cancer in mice with different types of mutations, thus revealing the origin for hairy cell leukemia. Understanding the causes of this leukemia should help guide the design of effective treatments and may improve our understanding of similar cancers.

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