Science Market Update

UMinn Science Researchers Find Possible Link: C-Sections & Leukemia

Posted by Katheryn Rein on Thu, Mar 31, 2016

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer, affecting nearly 6 thousand children in the US annually. Recently, a possible relationship has been identified, which may provide valuable insight into why this cancer develops and how to prevent it.

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities regularly contributes cutting-edge research to the fields of life and health sciences. A recent study from the university discovered the potential ofPregnant_woman2-857776-edited.jpg 
kava extract as a lung cancer combatant
. Now, researchers at the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Center may have identified a link between children who go on to develop ALL and those who were birthed via a pre-labor cesarean delivery. In fact, the analysis showed a 23% increase in risk of ALL in children born by pre-labor cesarean delivery. Studies in the past have shown no significant correlation between the development of childhood leukemia and cesarean section delivery. However, focusing specifically on c-sections performed before labor suggests a possible association that requires further research. 

This research team was led by Masonic Cancer Center members Erin Marcotte, Ph.D., assistant professor, and Logan Spector, Ph.D., professor, of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

While many theories exist as to what may spark the development of ALL after a pre-labor c-section, the main idea presented by UMinn researcher Dr. Logan Spector is that the lack of cortisol, a stress hormone, is the underlying culprit. When children are born via planned cesarean sections rather than emergency cesarean or vaginal delivery, they do not experience a buildup of cortisol while the mother is in labor.

As Dr. Spector notes, “Cortisol exposure is plausible [as a cause of ALL] since similar compounds are used to treat ALL. We also know that some [children] are born with cells that are on
med_content_506116-2-563997-edited.gifmed_content_466866-1-686517-edited.jpgthe path to becoming leukemia.  Thus, our working hypothesis is that cortisol exposure at birth may eliminate these pre-leukemic cells.” Based on this hypothesis, researchers suspect an increase in ALL may be ultimately due to improperly adapted immune systems at birth.

While further investigations are necessary to settle on this theory, lead investigators note that these findings are comparable to others looking at cesarean delivery rates and later developing childhood outcomes like Type I diabetes and asthma.

This research project was supported through funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Research Institute. 

Interested in marketing lab products and supplies to active life science researchers in the well-funded Minnesota marketplace? If so, exhibit at an upcoming BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Minnesota on May 5th, 2016. This event will bring together science product suppliers with hundreds of researchers, including PI's, grad students, lab managers, professors, purchasing agents and other lab staff interested in finding the best and newest equipment and technologies to use in their lab. At the 2015 event, 324 scientists from 26 different research buildings and 45 on-campus departments came out to discover the best and newest tools and technologies available to use in their labs. 

The 16th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities will be held on May 5th, 2016.

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To learn more about participating in this popular event, and to learn more funding facts about the university, visit the link below:

  Learn More About Twin Cities Event  

Tags: Lab Product show, University of Minnesota, UMN, Leukemia, cancer research, Minnesota, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, UMinn, Minn, Twin Cities, uminn research

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