Accounting for 15% of all leukemias in adults, CML is a type of cancer that affects mature and maturing myeloid cells in the bone marrow.
USA health now offers molecular testing for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) to help physicians make more timely treatment decisions.
Accounting for 15% of all leukemias in adults, CML is a type of cancer that affects mature and maturing myeloid cells in the bone marrow, leading to uncontrolled production of a type of white blood cells called granulocytes.
CML is caused by a genetic mutation. The ABL gene on chromosome 9 breaks off and combines with the BCR gene from chromosome 22. This new fusion gene (BCR-ABL) produces an abnormal protein that leads to the development of cancer cells.
Omar Alkharabsheh, M.D., a medical oncologist and hematologist at the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute, said the standard treatment for CML is an oral therapy that specifically targets the activity of the BCR-ABL fusion protein. Assessing the treatment’s efficacy requires regular monitoring. A blood test, typically performed every three months, measures the level of BCR-ABL mRNA present in the patient’s blood.
Thuy Phung, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of molecular genetic pathology and dermatopathology at USA Health, said there is a need for fast and sensitive molecular diagnostic testing to support timely treatment decisions. She has spearheaded efforts to bring the testing in-house to USA Health’s molecular pathology diagnostic laboratory.
Phung, who also is an associate professor of pathology at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine, said blood samples previously were shipped to a reference lab on the West Coast for testing. The turnaround time from specimen receipt to test result was 7-10 days.
“The new in-house test is FDA-cleared, fully automated, cartridge-based technology with little hands-on time,” she said. “No shipping is needed; therefore, we have a 0% specimen rejection rate due to specimen shipping condition.”
Phung said the turnaround time for the new in-house test is 48-72 hours.
As an academic health system, USA Health is on the forefront of cancer research and treatment. For molecular test inquiries, contact the molecular pathology lab at 251-471-7335 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.