CML

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia is a strain of blood cancer which I have been diagnosed with in the first week of August 2021. The good news is that thanks to the research of medical scientists in the US and UK this condition is treatable with large ‘Imatinib’ tablets. Never-the- less it has come a surprise and a worry. If this random mutation has occurred in my bone marrow then another might be lurking round the corner. This was noticed when a recent cardiac pre operation threw up the high white blood cell count and the Haematology team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital invited me in for treatment.

The Philadelphia chromosome which is the basis for CML was first discovered and described in 1959 by David Hungerford at the Lankenau Hospital’s Institute for Cancer Research, along with Peter Nowell from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The genetic abnormality Hungerford and Nowell found was named after the city in which both organizations were located.[1][28] [29] [30]

Hungerford was writing his doctoral thesis on chromosomes in a genetics lab at what was then the Institute for Cancer Research at the Lankenau Hospital Research Institute,[31] and detected a flaw in chromosomes from the blood cells of patients with leukemia. This founding observation was the first genetic defect to be linked with a specific human cancer. Nowell was a pathologist at the University of Pennsylvania who was also studying leukemia cells under the microscope when he noticed cells with this genetic flaw in the act of dividing. To his surprise, their chromosomes—usually an indistinct tangle—were visible as separate structures. In searching for an expert on chromosomes, Nowell found Hungerford locally at Lankenau. While conducting his microscopic studies, Hungerford furthered his observations with the discovery that certain leukemia cells had an abnormally short chromosome 22. Subsequently, the mutation he observed became known as the Philadelphia chromosome. (Wikipedia entry)

Biopsy blood slides and bone marrow montaged with chromosome 9 and 22 and white blood cells

This space will collate reflection, writings and artworks made in response to this condition.

More information on CML and coping with it can be found Here: https://bloodcancer.org.uk/

There is an active online support network: https://cmlsupport.org.uk

The clinical Centre for Haematology where I am being treated, is based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham UK. It is also the base for the Cure Leukaemia charity that fund raises for clinical trials: https://cureleukaemia.co.uk/