Leukemias and lymphomas are uncontrolled proliferations of abnormal blood cell populations. These abnormal cells infiltrate the bone marrow thus preventing the production of normal cells, and invade the blood and other organs.
Chronic lymphatic leukemia is the most common type of leukemia in adults in the Western world and around 60 genes have been found to be altered in these tumors. The most surprising thing about this disease is that some of these genes are present in 10%-15% of patients, but the vast majority are present in only a few, 5% or even less, which indicates their great genomic heterogeneity and the complexity of research and treatment. For this reason, clinically, survival rates are high in some patients, while in others the disease is much more aggressive.
Other leukemias have hugely different and even more aggressive characteristics, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, more frequent in pediatric ages. Although most patients can be cured thanks to conventional treatments, some do not respond and have an extremely poor prognosis.
How do we explain the diversity of these diseases? How can we approach new healing strategies in the face of this great variability? How do we currently treat leukemias and other blood cancers? How are treatments expected to improve in the coming years? What options do CARTs provide to patients and what hinders their greater applicability in patients?
Elías Campo, director of IDIBAPS, Professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Barcelona and Senior Consultant at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. Health Research Award Principal Investigator of ”la Caixa” Foundation.
Biola Javierre, head of the 3D Chromatin Organization Group at the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute. Junior Leader Fellow of ”la Caixa” Foundation.
Carmen Fernández, delegate of the Health Section in Catalonia of Unidad Editorial, El Mundo and Diario Médico.