BCR/ABL is the abnormal gene that characterizes the leukemic stem cells of most people with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.  

For CML to occur, the “ABL” gene (named after a researcher named Abelson) must come unglued from its usual location on chromosome # 9, and become attached to the “BCR” (breakpoint cluster region) of chromosome #22, thus creating the bcr-abl hybrid, or “chimera” which has a number of nasty properties.

It appears that the genetic “mistake” producing BCR/ABL is quite common and may occur several times during the lives of normal people; however, their immune systems recognize and kill the abnormal cells.

This fails to happen in people who develop CML, but it’s not known why.


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