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bio hw assignment lukemia - Acute Myeloid Leukemia Ryan...

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Acute Myeloid Leukemia Ryan Spiering (5) History of AML John Hughes Benett first diagnosed Leukemia in 1845 but the Greeks are given credit for first discovering cancer. Patients in the 19 th century who had abnormally high levels of WBC’s were diagnosed with weisses blut which means white blood. Now we use the term leukemia because it comes from the Greek words leukos and heima also meaning white blood. “In 1913, four types of leukemia were classified: chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, and erythroleukemia” (14). Unfortunately it wasn’t until 1970 that is was known that patients could be cured of leukemia, but by the 80’s and 90’s the cure rate for leukemia was around 70%. Today there is more cancer (some) than in the past and that can be attributed partially to the improved cleanliness or possibly the fact that they couldn’t identify cancers as well. Children now are exposed to less infectious diseases and their immune systems may not develop as well. They are also exposed to more pesticides and harmful chemicals. This is just one of the many possible causes for the increase in cancer over the years. Throughout history there have been only three major treatments for leukemia. The very first treatment they used was arsenic. Arsenic was used by Hippocrates, who also gave cancer its name, but wasn’t standardized until the 18 th century when Thomas Fowler created “Fowler’s Solution”. This was a mixture of arsenic trioxide and potassium bicarbonate and was used to treat leukemia, anemia, and Hodgkin’s disease. Arsenic as a treatment became obsolete with the discovery of radiation in the early 20 th century. X-rays were found to reduce the size of tumors if given doses over a period of time. X-rays were not only found to help cure cancer but to also cause it. “Many early radiologists used the skin of their arms to test the strength of radiation
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from their radiotherapy machines, looking for a dose that would produce a pink reaction (erythema) that looked like sunburn.” This was considered an accurate measure of the dose, called the "erythema dose." Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, many of these early radiologists came down with leukemia” (14). It wasn’t until a group of soldiers in WWII accidentally were exposed to mustard gas did a new treatment for leukemia arise. Scientists discovered that the affected soldiers had a very low WBC count which led to the development of chemotherapy. Scientists started to find different chemicals that block things like the replication of tumor cells. However, the first effective leukemia drug was created by George Hitchings and Gertrude Elion and was called 6-mercaptopurin. This was a partially successful drug because it got people into remission but many relapsed and died. Today this drug is used in remission with other drugs.
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