News programs
Dec 20

In 2013, the Cancer Research Foundation funded the beginning of the North American Consortium of Familial Hematological Malignancies, hoping to help Dr. Jane Churpek and Dr. Lucy Godley create a better way to identify and classify rare cancerous blood diseases that are passed down from generation to generation. These malignancies, which can have real implications for families dealing with leukemia, were thought to be so rare that routine consideration of them was not a standard component of decisions regarding treatment and stem cell transplantation.

However, by reaching out beyond their own labs and patient cohorts and networking with an international group of researchers and doctors, Dr. Godley and Dr. Churpek have been able to show that familial cancer predisposition occurs more frequently than previously appreciated and has real consequences for patients dealing with leukemia and their families. Consideration of these inherited syndromes is especially important at the time of evaluating donors for stem cell transplantation when particular signs may indicate that potential donors may also carry the family predisposition. Recognizing the importance of familial leukemias in clinical care, the World Health Organization is adding a provisional category in its leukemia classification scheme for "germ-line predisposition" which means that all doctors dealing with leukemia should be looking for potential "passed-down" cancer predisposition, and means that far more people who have a much greater likelihood of particular blood cancers can be monitored and treated earlier.

Read more about the NACFHM:

Are Some Stem Cell Donors a Likely Cohort for Familial Hemotologic Malignancies?