About one in five people diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a type of blood cancer affecting the lymph nodes [glands] – suffers a relapse after their first course of treatment. If doctors knew which patients were most at risk of the disease re-emerging, they might be able to give a different treatment from the outset. Now, scientists have found that in tissue samples taken from Hodgkin’s patients, the risk of relapse is higher if the cancer cells have short telomeres – the genetic sequence at the chromosome tips that normally shorten in all our cells as we age. In the sample shown here, a cancer cell’s giant nucleus (the largest dyed-blue shape) in the middle of this image has telomeres (stained red) so short they are hardly visible. While in the nucleus of the surrounding, non-malignant cells (smaller blue shapes) the red dots marking normal-length telomeres are easily seen.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.