NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia - page 7

7
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Version 1.2014
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Part 1: About lung cancer
Definitions:
DNA:
Molecules in cells
that contain genes
Granulocyte:
A type of
white blood cell that has
small particles (granules)
Immune system:
The
body’s natural defense
against infection and
disease
Lymphocyte:
A type of
cell that fights infections—
called white blood cells
Monocyte:
A type of cell
that fights infections—
called white blood cells
Stem cell:
An immature
cell from which other types
of cells develop
1.2 How does chronic myelogenous leukemia start?
Leukemia is a cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow.
CML (
c
hronic
m
yelogenous
l
eukemia) is a leukemia that grows slowly and causes
too many white blood cells to form.
Normal blood cells grow and divide to form new blood cells as the body needs
them. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die. CML cells don’t do
this. Instead, they make new cells that aren’t needed and don’t die quickly when
old or damaged.
Genes are the coded instructions in cells for making new cells and controlling how
cells behave. Cancer is caused by an abnormal change in genes. CML is believed
to be caused by the
BCR-ABL
gene. This gene is not found in normal blood cells
and is not passed down from parents to children. The
BCR-ABL
gene is a fusion
gene—a new gene that is formed when two genes are joined together.
Genes are carried in the DNA (
d
eoxyribo
n
ucleic
a
cid) of every cell. DNA is bundled
together into long strands called chromosomes. See Figure 3.
Figure 3. Chromosomes, DNA, and genes
Illustration Copyright © 2013 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.
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