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Research led by Prof. Tony Green discovers a new test for chronic blood cancers

A simple blood test will soon be able to catch the vast majority of a group of chronic blood cancers, a new study reveals. Although around 60 per cent of cases can be identified with the current blood test, scientists did not know what caused the other cases and therefore could not test for it. Cambridge researchers have now identified a new cancer gene which accounts for the other 40 per cent of these chronic blood cancers. The research was published today, 10 December, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This group of chronic blood cancers – which affect an estimated 30,000 people annually in the UK –  cause the over-production of red blood cells and platelets. These changes result in an increased incidence of blood clots which can be devastating when strokes or heart attacks occur. Although many patients can live for years with few or no symptoms, in some patients the disorders can become more aggressive with time and may even develop into acute leukaemia.

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Full article: New England Journal of Medicine

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