Scientists said a gene specific to the male-only Y chromosome, had been found to protect against the development of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and other cancers.
According to findings of a new study published in ‘Nature Genetics,’ the study could lead to new lines of research for new treatments for AML.
AML is not a single disease. It is the name given to a group of leukaemias that develop in the myeloid cell line in the bone marrow. Myeloid cells are red blood cells, platelets and all white blood cells excluding lymphocytes.
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread to other parts of the body.
Mainstream treatments for the condition have remained unchanged for decades and just 20 per cent of patients survive for five years or more after diagnosis.
This development therefore raises hope the high death rate from AML may reduce as the new line of treatment that may be produced would advance health care in the treatment of the condition.
Reacting to the study findings, the researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge said the discovery of this new role changes the way the Y chromosome is viewed and improves understanding of how AML and other cancers develop.