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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Unexpected and Important Insight into AML ( a leukemia) through Global Cooperation of Smart Doctors

The power of widely shared information has been very much in the news this week thanks to the Manning/WikiLeak’ disclosures of US government documents. So, this seems like a good time for a new example of how much it matters that today’s scientific tools and computers generate incredible amounts of information which can can be shared globally in a virtual instant in open access databases filled with tens of millions of datapoints generated from locations around the world. Here’s what some scientists said with respect to recent discoveries described in this website release, which is summarized here in ScienceDaily:

"These discoveries were only possible thanks to the collaboration of a large team of scientists with expertise in different disciplines from around the world," emphasizes Dr. Melnick, "and thanks to an unusual alliance between multicenter clinical trials groups from Europe and the United States. This spirit of cooperation allowed for the collection and analysis of the massive genomic datasets required for these discoveries to be made. Working together, it will be possible to accelerate the pace of discovery and development of better treatments."

How did they make the discoveries ?

"The large-scale, international, collaborative research effort scrutinized the genomes of 750 AML patients from the United States and Europe for chemical clues to better understand how leukemia arises from normal bone marrow cells. Using computational tools to sift through millions of data points, they discovered a unique chemical signature in the genomes of patients with mutations in either of two enzymes called IDH1 and IDH2, which occur frequently in AML."

What was discovered by this global group of doctors and researchers from prestigious universities, and authors of this article in the heavyweight journal, Cancer Cell ? An unexpected new insight into casuation for one of the many vicious leukemias that kill tens of thousands of people every year, when counted on a global scale. And, the insight likely applies to other types of cancer.

NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2010) — There is new hope for people with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Research led by Weill Cornell Medical College and published today in the online edition of the journal Cancer Cell reveals a surprising and unexpected cancer-causing mechanism. The investigators discovered that newly identified mutant enzymes in AML create a chemical poison to cause leukemia. Their findings should prove useful in treating patients by providing a molecular target against which to develop new drugs against one subset of AML as well as other cancers.

What is the signficance of the finding ? It proves that the our genetic variations are subject to profound further epigenetic differences created, at least often, by environmental sources. Click here for the full scientific summary of the signficance of the study.

How much does environment matter? It’s huge, at least in some cases. Proof ? Read this summary of an elegantly simple but powerful experiment in which varying environments lead to to widely different outcomes for a simple yeast with four main genetic variations.

And, to close, what did they do with the paper and the data. The paper is sitting on the web here, widely and freely accessible. And, the article materials include this link to help others find and use all the data in this free online resource.

The value of setting information free for sharing ? Beyond measure, and growing every day.

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