Early childhood vaccinations may decrease leukemia risk

Early childhood vaccinations may decrease leukemia risk
Early childhood vaccinations may decrease leukemia risk | Courtesy of

A team of researchers from University of California - San Francisco (UCSF) recently conducted a study that suggests early childhood vaccinations may decrease the patients’ risks of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is the most common kind of childhood cancer.

The vaccine involved in the test was the Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib) vaccine, which prevents meningitis and ear infections as well as ALL. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the Hib vaccine in the standard vaccination schedule. It is routinely administered through four doses before children reach 15 months old.

The National Cancer Society reports that an estimated 25 percent of childhood cancer diagnoses in children under the age of 15 are ALL.

Previous epidemiological studies have demonstrated the potential cancer-fighting abilities of the Hib vaccine. Unfortunately, the general public does not realize this.

"These experiments help explain why the incidence of leukemia has been dramatically reduced since the advent of regular vaccinations during infancy," Dr. Markus Müschen, professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF and senior author of the study, said. "Hib and other childhood infections can cause recurrent and vehement immune responses, which we have found could lead to leukemia, but infants that have received vaccines are largely protected and acquire long-term immunity through very mild immune reactions."

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University of California - San Francisco

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