A myeloma list member (thank you!) posted the link to a January 17 BBC story (see: http://tinyurl.com/2mol2c) about four-year-old identical twin girls were born with leukaemic stem cells (STEM CELLS!) in their bone marrow.These cells contained “a mutated gene, which forms when the DNA is broken and rejoined at another point. The pre-leukaemic cells are transferred from one twin to the other in the womb through their shared blood supply. But it takes another genetic mutation in early childhood for the cells to cause disease. This second mutation, which may be caused by infection, occurred in Olivia but not Isabella.” In fact, only Olivia developed full-blown leukaemia (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or ALL). UK researchers examined the twins’ blood, and their findings were published in the January 18 issue of "Science." The abstract can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/285qjn.
“About 1% of the population is thought to be born with pre-leukaemia cells. Of these, 1% receive the second "hit" that leads to cancer.” Even a simple cold, from other articles that I read online, is apparently able to trigger this second mutation.
Well, this is all very interesting. I remember that, when I was eight years old, my family doctor here in Italy was convinced that I had leukaemia. Unfortunately, my blood tests from that period are probably buried in a box in my parents’ garage in the U.S., but if I am able to locate them some day, they might yield some interesting information that could be relevant to my having myeloma (inactive) today. Could I possibly have had a “second hit” (later in life) that led me to develop this cancer? Well, this is just a random thought on a lazy Saturday evening. Nothing more. And indeed, now that I have written it out, it appears to be unlikely.
But the next time I visit my parents, I will comb through their garage, just in case.