Can Environmental Causes Be Behind Some Cases of Polycythemia Vera?

By Ann Brazeau 

In August 2008, ATSDR and PADOH organized a meeting with a panel of experts in Philadelphia.  Medical researchers, environmental scientists, and public health professionals met to review the findings and recommend future studies. Four majorresearch areas were identified: epidemiology, genetics/biomarkers, toxicology, and environmental analysis.

The PV cluster in Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties will require a great deal of  assessment of a host of possible environmental influences including hazardous waste sites, industrial emissions and waste, and naturally occurring radiation sources as well as possible genetic risk factors. Because the area was allocated a substantial amount of federal funding to study the specific causes, comprehensive research can be conducted that will not only benefit the local community but the entire MPD / MPN(myeloproliferative neoplasms) community.  

For this rural community in Pennsylvania, the increased benefits are evident with local physician awareness, the formation of a patient support group, access to PV patient clinical trials, a community JAK2 screening and follow-up study, testing of residential properties and nation-wide attention to an orphan disease that otherwise can gounnoticed.  The MPD Foundation has paid very close attention to this evolving story in Pennsylvania and  has supported and assisted the Centers for Disease Control, researchers, and the patients in those counties. 

* This article appeared in the Fall 2010 edition of MPDUpdate.  To begin receiving this free newsletter click here.

Author: Woehrle, Michelle

Michelle Woehrle joined the MPN Research Foundation in 2007 after being inspired by their mission to fund research that will improve the lives of people living with the rare blood cancers PV, ET and MF. In 2015 she was promoted to Executive Director. She has assisted with the expansion of the grants program, grassroots initiatives to connect with more patients internationally and optimize operations for the Foundation.

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