Leukemia/Lymphoma Awareness Month

Leukemia and lymphoma are cancers that affect the blood or bone marrow.

Leukemia starts in the tissue that forms blood. Most blood cells develop from cells in the bone marrow called stem cells. In a person with leukemia, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells). Unlike normal blood cells, leukemia cells don't die when they should. They may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for normal blood cells to do their work.

Adult leukemias are expected to account for 3.5 percent of all new cancer cases in 2019, according to federal statistics. Leukemia is the most common cancer in children younger than 15 years.

There are four major types of leukemia: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which affects myeloid cells and grows quickly; chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which affects lymphoid cells and grows slowly; acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which affects lymphoid cells and grows quickly; and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), which affects myeloid cells and usually grows slowly at first. AML and CLL are the most common types in adults, and ALL is the most common type in children.

Lymphomas begin in cells of the lymph system, which is a part of the immune system. Lymph tissue is found throughout the body, therefore, lymphoma can begin almost anywhere. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). 

Hodgkin lymphoma is usually marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell in the lymph nodes. Hodgkin lymphoma may also occur in patients who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Scientists typically categorize them as either slow-growing or aggressive. The most common types of NHL in adults are diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma represents 4.2 percent of all new cancer cases in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults.

September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month.

What is the AACR Doing in This Area?

Lymphoma-Focused Conferences

In June 2019, the AACR was a partner in the 15th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma in Lugano, Switzerland, the must-attend event for the scientific community involved in the study and treatment of lymphoid neoplasms.

In 2020, in cooperation with the International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma, the AACR will host the Second AACR International Meeting: Advances in Malignant Lymphoma: Maximizing the Basic-Translational Interface for Clinical Application.

Grants and Awards

In 2019 several AACR awards went to researchers focused on various aspects of leukemia and lymphoma research. The awardees were:

2019 AACR Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Geffen Kleinstern, PhD, Mayo Clinic

2019 AACR-June L. Biedler Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Sunil K. Joshi, BA, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Kiyomi Morita, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Yiliang Wei, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

2019 AACR-Pezcoller Foundation Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Maximilian Yuanzhe Deng, MD, German Cancer Research Center (Germany)
  • Disha Malani, MS, Institute for Molecular Medicine (Finland)

2019 Global Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Saumya Patel, PhD, Gujarat University (India)

2019 AACR Minorty and Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholars in Cancer Research Award

  • Ernest K. Amankwah, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

2019 AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award

  • Jonelle K. Lee, MS,  University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • Yorleny M. Vicioso, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Tiffany A. Coupet, Geisel School of Medicine

2019 AACR Women in Cancer Research Scholar Award

  • Eileen Y. Hu, MD, PhD, The Ohio State University College of Medicine
  • Kamira Maharaj, Moffitt Cancer Center

Last year the AACR provided over $64 million in grants and awards funding lifesaving cancer research. There are many ways you can support our mission to prevent and cure all cancers. Take Action

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