The article, published in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, covers a 30-year research period. Researchers discovered that acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, is caused by a two-stage process.
The risk of leukemia in those who grow up in clean homes
First step before birth it is a genetic mutation that makes a child prone to the risk of developing this form of leukemia. The second step is clean life, which limits exposure to infections. In other words, not being exposed to certain infections in childhood increases the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The researchers discovered that when children do not come in contact with enough microbes in childhood, they develop some types of cancer in the following years.
Not being exposed to microbes affects the immune system
Author, Cancer Research Institute Professor Mel Greaves suggests that cancer may be preventable. Greaves has done more than 30 years of research on genetics, cell biology, immunology, epidemiology of childhood leukemia. Greaves has long explored “why or how healthy children develop leukemia in another way and whether this cancer is preventable” . Greaves says that the results of this 30-year study provide a reliable explanation of how childhood leukemia has evolved. Infections in such cases cause leukemia in one in 2 thousand children. “To protect children from germs too much invites cancer” , experts advise families not to worry about simple infections.