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Physicians Fighting Leukemia Through Treatment and Research

A combination of both current treatments and research is improving treatment options for patients with leukemia. In conjunction with Drs. Pam Becker, Vivian Oehler and Tony Blau, of the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, are developing a clinical trial for patients with leukemia. In addition, Dr. Tony Blau works at the University of Washington’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, searching for better cancer treatment options. 

Leukemia and lymphoma come in many different forms, but all are a type of cancer of the blood-forming tissue in the body, such as bone marrow and lymph. As a result, a large number of abnormal blood cells are created and deposited in the bloodstream. Tony Blau and other oncologists strive to find the best treatment strategy for each patient, utilizing medications as well as procedures like radiation and chemotherapy. However, ongoing research is essential to improving therapies and patient health.

One promising area of research is in stem cells. Stem cells are present in everyone, and divide into the various cells the body uses. Scientists believe leukemia recurs because not all the cancerous stem cells are eradicated. By transplanting stem cells or discovering new ways to target stem cells directly, researchers and doctors like Tony Blau are helping break new ground in the fight against leukemia.

“Pluripotent Stem Cell Researchers Earn the Nobel Prize,” by Tony Blau, MD

In early October of 2012, the Nobel committee announced that the prize in Physiology or Medicine would go to two researchers, John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, who discovered how to turn adult cells into pluripotent stem cells.

This feat has the potential to transform the field of stem cell research, and could revolutionize treatments for oncology, autoimmune disorders, and many other conditions. Essentially, these two researchers determined a way to transform mature body cells into stem cells, which are capable of developing into any type of cell in the body. Prior to their discoveries, most scientists believed that, once stem cells developed into specialized cells (e.g., liver cells, bone cells, etc.), they could not return to their pluripotent state.

Now, however, the potential to create stem cells from any available cell source means that scientists will not have to depend upon human embryos to conduct stem cell research. This could eliminate many of the controversies surrounding such research and open the door to huge strides forward.

About Dr. Tony Blau: For the last several years, Anthony “Tony” Blau, MD, has devoted time to oncology and hematology research at the University of Washington’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Blau’s work includes seeking to understand cancer through genomics, nuclear architecture, and pluripotent stem cells.

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to the blog of Dr. Tony Blau.