The science behind 'A Vested Interest' - CML Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia
Forrest has CML. CML is a rare type of leukaemia which affects about one in 86,000 people each year.
It is caused by the failure of bone marrow to produce mature white blood cells. Immature white cells build up in the marrow and decrease it's ability to produce red cells.
People suffering from CML usually have a defective chromosome the 'Philadelphia chromosome' it causes the production of a particular enzyme called tyrosine kinase, which leads to the development of CML. This faulty chromosome does not appear to be inherited but seems to develop as a result of exposure to radiation, chemicals such as benzine or smoking. CML is most common in people in their 60s.
This condition is very slow to develop and in the first (chronic) stage usually goes un-noticed. It is often discovered as a result of blood tests for other conditions. In the early stage with treatment there is a good survival rate. In the second (accelerated) stage symptoms of tiredness, anaemia and a suseptibility to infection appear. The symptoms get progressively worse. Bruising and nose bleeds may occur. In the final (blast) stage symptoms are very severe and mortality is high.
Treatment is by drugs and possibly bone marrow transplant. Blood transfusions can help for a while but eventually become ineffective.