Diseases / Research


bone marrow

The red blood cells (red) can be distinguished from developing white blood cells (blue nucleus and pink cytoplasm) in the marrow by using a Wright Giemsa stain. This technique can be used to characterize cancers of the blood.

Photo by Fred Hutch Experimental Histopathology

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Leukemias are blood- and bone marrow cancers categorized by which type of blood cell they affect and how quickly they progress. Leukemia arises in the two main types of white blood cells: Lymphoid and myeloid cells. Fast-growing leukemias are called acute leukemias. Slower-growing leukemias are called chronic leukemias.

Fred Hutch is a world leader in leukemia research. Our experts pioneered one of the most effective leukemia treatments: bone marrow transplantation. The Hutch is advancing other key leukemia treatments including stem cell transplantation, immunotherapy, drugs that destroy cancer cells and cord blood transplantation.

We are conducting groundbreaking research on leukemia's four major types:

  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
    Acute myeloid leukemia is the most common type of adult leukemia and can also occur in children. If untreated, AML usually progresses quickly.
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
    Chronic myeloid leukemia originates from a genetic abnormality called the Philadelphia chromosome, and progresses through distinct phases. While CML occurs mainly in adults, a very small number of children also develop this disease.
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
    Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common type of leukemia in children in developed countries. ALL starts in a person's bone marrow and often moves quickly into the blood.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
    Chronic lymphocytic leukemia usually gets worse slowly. CLL is the second most common form of adult leukemia. More than half of people diagnosed with CLL are older than 70, and cases rarely occur in individuals younger than 40.

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