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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 more than 3 percent of all new cancer cases in 2017, 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 4.3 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 Conference

In June 2017, the AACR was a partner in the 14th 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.

Grants and Awards

For several years, the AACR has partnered with the Incyte Corporation to offer scientific grants and awards in the fields of lymphoma and leukemia research.

The 2017 AACR-Incyte Corporation Fellowship in Basic Cancer Research was awarded to Hyun Yong Jin, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco for his lymphoma-focused study, "Synthetic Lethal Targeting of Metabolic Adaptation in Lymphomagenesis."

The AACR-Incyte Corporation Leukemia Research Fellowship for 2017 was awarded to Palaniraja Thandapani, PhD, of the New York University School of Medicine, for his project, "LUNAR1, Mechanism of Action and Validation as a Therapeutic Target in T-ALL."

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is a 501c3 registered nonprofit organization with offices at 615 Chestnut Street, 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | 215.440.9300