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Blood Cancers

  1. Mar 10, 2004 #1
    Hi all,

    Before I ask a Q about blood cancers, can I just check - is it right that cell division of blood cells takes place only in the bone marrow (and not in the bloodstream or anywhere else)?


  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2004 #2
    If you're talking about red blood cells, then yes. Red blood cells have no nucleus to divide anyway.

    White blood cells are a completely different kettle of fish however.
  4. Mar 14, 2004 #3


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    Are they? If you take the monocyte for instance, it doesn't divide anymore but it still differentiates into a macrophage (without division!).
  5. Mar 15, 2004 #4
    OK did I say red blood cells??

    Yeah it's more white cells I'm talking about cos blood cancers are almost always white cells. So I read somewhere that WBCs such as lymphocytes can multiply outside the bone marrow for example in response to infection. So this would mean that not all WBC's come from the bone marrow. So then I am wondering what is the point of stem cells (aka precursor) cells if adult WBC's can reproduce on their own, bypassing the whole bone marrow / stem cell thing?

    Also does anyone know about the differences / connections between Leukemia and Lymphoma? I have seen plenty of websites explaining one or the other but not much on comparing and contrasting.

    Thanx for any ideas

  6. Mar 18, 2004 #5

    Stem cells are specialized cells that form mainly in the zygote. They can differentiate into any type of cell in the body. ALmost any cell with a nucleous can reproduce on its own without stem cells. Stem cells are of interest now because researchers think that if you place stem cells on a part of the body with damaged cells, the stem cells will grow into new healthy tissue cells.

    Acute leukemia is a malignant disease of blood forming tissuescharacterized by uncontrolled production and accumulation of immature leukocytes. Chronic Leukemia is where mature leukocytes accumulate in the bloodstream because they do not die at the end of there normal life span.

    Lymphomas are cancers of the lymph nodes, not the blood. Tey are sometimes confused because leukocytes are present in the lymph nodes, and are subsequently affected by lymphomas in a similar way as by leukemia.
  7. Mar 20, 2004 #6
    Hi all,

    Thanx to Mark for reply. IIRC red blood cells and platelets don't have a nucleus but I think that white blood cells do - have I got that right? Also I think that WBC's can reproduce outside the bone marrow bypassing the stem cell thing, for example in response to infection. [?]

  8. Mar 21, 2004 #7
    You are correct on both things.
  9. Mar 21, 2004 #8
    OK so I was wondering what is the big idea with the bone marrow thing anyway? I mean if WBC's can reproduce on their own what need then is there for them to be produced in the bone marrow[?]

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