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Gene discovery to help leukaemia fight

Melbourne: People at risk of developing blood cancers can now be identified more quickly as Australian scientists have discovered an inherited gene defect which can predispose some people to acute leukaemia.

Researchers from Centre for Cancer Biology at South Australia (SA) Pathology said those at high risk of developing the disease can be identified, monitored and treated much sooner.

According to ABC report, scientist Hamish Scott said the mutations are found in a gene which regulates the activity of many others involved in developing white blood cells.

"It`s called myelodysplastic syndrome to start with and turns into acute myeloid leukaemia and the problem with this type of leukaemia is the symptoms are quite generic to start with," he said.

"So to be able to pick this up early is incredibly important. You might just feel a bit weak, a bit tired and you might find yourself almost dead within a week," he said.

Genetic testing is already available and a clinical trial has begun in the United States.

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