Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) is a rare cancer affecting the blood cells.
In those cells, a part of Chromosome 9 is exchanged with a part of chromosome 22, leading to an abnormal gene and the overproduction of white blood cells. As the disease progresses, CML cells replace most normal cells in the bone marrow and prevent the production of healthy, normal blood cells.
Only 15 years ago, CML was fatal for the majority of patients. Through major progress in research, today’s CML patients have almost normal life expectancy with a good quality of life. However, for most patients, continuous treatment is still required. More than 6,200 Europeans are diagnosed with CML every year. CML comprises only some 13% of all new cases of leukaemia in adults, which are all classified as rare diseases.
The average age at diagnosis is approximately 65. There are, however, some young patients, even though CML is extremely rare in children. It has been observed that radioactivity or some toxins may increase the risk that CML develops. However, the main reason why the disease occurs is unknown. It is assumed that CML is not hereditary.