Archive for the ‘Cancer biology’ Category

New targeted therapy finds and eliminates deadly leukemia stem cells

July 5, 2009

Insecure people who are derisive or dismissive of technical scientific terminology (which they affectedly disdain as “jargon”) can miss a lot of significant meaning.

Consider the medical term “leukemia“, which is familiar to the public as referring to a form of blood cancer. It’s related to the less familiar term “leukocyte“, which refers to various kinds of white blood cells. (The prefix “leuko-” is derived from Greek leukos, meaning “white”. The suffix, “-cyte” is also Greek: kytos, meaning “cell”.)

Leukocytes were originally recognized as distinct from other types of cells in the blood, especially “red” blood cells, which derive their color from iron-containing hemoglobin. There are actually a number of different types of leukocytes – and different types of corresponding leukemias. One common subtype of leukemia involves myeloid cells (myelocytes), which are normally found in bone marrow and occur as precursors to several types of blood cells. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML, also known as acute myelogenous leukemia) is the most common example, and has several subtypes itself. (more…)