Lying in wait

2019-03-07 12:03:15

SOME leukaemia cells escape chemotherapy by lying dormant while others are busy proliferating, researchers in Canada have found. Tessa Holyoake and her colleagues at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver identified the sleeping cells in the blood of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia. The discovery could explain why the disease can only be cured by bone marrow transplants and not by chemotherapy, which only attacks fast-dividing cells. But a non-surgical cure is still a long way off, says Holyoake, because there is as yet no way to differentiate between the sleepy cells and healthy, slow-growing cells. “We now need to find some sort of fingerprint that says these cells are leukaemic,” she says (Blood, vol 94,