Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a malignancy that develops in an affected individual's blood and bone marrow with no clear cause and quickly progresses in the absence of treatment. This type of leukemia occurs when a stem cell in the bone marrow that matures into a red blood cell, white blood cell, or platelet, acquires a genetic DNA injury. The DNA injury of the cell causes alteration or mutation in the part that provides the cell with instructions on how to grow, multiply, and die. The mutated DNA results in the development of malignancy. The malignant cell reproduces in an unmanageable fashion, making billions of lymphoblasts that infiltrate and invade the affected individual's bone marrow and bloodstream. Lymphoblasts are abnormal types of lymphocytes that are larger than normal and fail to function, stop the production of healthy cells, grow more rapidly than healthy cells, and effectively outlive healthy cells. The accumulation of these lymphoblasts in the blood of the affected individual can cause them to develop anemia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia. Chemotherapy is one of the only ways that these abnormal malignant lymphocytes can be eliminated from the body.
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