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June 10, 1974

Medical News

JAMA. 1974;228(11):1353-1364. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230360003001

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Leukemia prognosis tests studied; disease linked to thymus enzyme  New questions about the role of the thymus in acute lymphoblastic leukemia have been raised by the studies of a group at the Harvard Medical School.The investigators detected a thymus-specific enzyme in the circulating lymphocytes of seven of nine patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The same enzyme was found in a strain of leukemia-prone mice. In normal humans and animals, an identical DNA polymerase occurs only in the thymus.Besides suggesting a possible role for the thymus in the development of some cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, these findings indicate that the enzyme may be a useful cell marker with diagnostic and prognostic importance.At the same time, workers at the University of Texas System Cancer Center, Houston, reported using advanced statistical methods to select a series of tests to predict probable response and survival rates of acute leukemia