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'Mother to child' cancer link.

Summary: Researchers say scientists have proved for the first time that cancer cells can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy.

Researchers say scientists have proved for the first time that cancer cells can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) says it has found genetic evidence that leukaemic cells had been transferred from a Japanese woman to her daughter.

The ICR says although there have been 17 previous cases where a mother and infant appeared to share the same cancer, this is the first time it has been linked "unquestionably".

The study, published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found the child's parents both carried the identical mutated cancer gene BCR-ABL1.

But the infant had not inherited the gene, meaning she could not have developed the leukaemia in isolation.

Professor Mel Greaves, who led the study at the ICR, said such cases remained exceedingly rare. He said: "It appears that in this and, we presume, other cases of mother to offspring cancer, the maternal cancer cells did cross the placenta into the developing foetus and succeeded in implanting because they were invisible to the immune system."

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Oct 16, 2009
Words:222
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