Sunday, November 18, 2012

It Didn't Used To Be Like This

I read a post a few days ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It was on Got Down Syndrome's Blog and it was about new research being done at the University of Washington, or U-Dub as we call it here in Seattle. I had seen the article somewhere recently and told myself I was going to look into it more, but never did. I was glad to see it on her blog. Thank you Qadoshyah!

It's about scientists who, in the lab, succeeded in removing the extra copy of chromosome 21 in cell cultures derived from a person with Down Syndrome.

Dr. David Russel said, "We are not proposing that this method will lead to treatment of Down Syndrome but for the possibility that scientists could create cell therapies for some of the blood forming disorders that accompany Down Syndrome. For example, people with Down Syndrome who are diagnosed with leukemia could have stem cells derived from their own cells, then have the trisomy removed from those cells. They could then receive a transplant with the cells without the trisomy (their own cells - that don't promote leukemia) as part of their treatment."

This is just amazing to me. Did they just reach in to that petrie dish and remove that extra piece of chromosome? Did the original chromosome remain intact? Unchanged? There's so much about this that I don't understand. I know this could be taken to the extreme by some people and used as a 'cure', as a way to make sure their babies aren't born with Down Syndrome. But to be able to help those who have leukemia? I'm all for that!! If this can truly, honestly, safely be used as treatment or even a cure for leukemia for kids who have Down Syndrome... what a breakthrough!

But that's not really what this post is about. It's about the percentage of kids who have Down Syndrome who are diagnosed with leukemia.

That wasn't even heard of when Beth was born. Granted, we didn't know a huge amount of people who had kids with Ds, but we did know of enough people. And none of them, not one, was ever diagnosed with leukemia.

It makes me wonder what's changed. Why are there so many kids being diagnosed today? I know some parents refuse to get their kids immunized because they just know that is the cause. I don't know if that's the cause - all three of our girls were immunized up to 5th grade - but I sometimes wonder about it. As our girls got older, it seemed more and more were needed. Every time we'd go to the doctor for a cold or... whatever, it seemed they were telling me another immunization was needed. At about 5th grade I just told my doctor 'no thank you'.

I got my last immunization in 2nd grade. Is it true that kids nowadays get them well into middle school? Maybe it's my age, but that's just crazy to me.

I don't know why so many kids are being diagnosed with leukemia. It didn't used to be like this.

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