Acute leukaemia is the most common cancer in childhood and the incidence is increasing especially in socio economic advanced countries.
Infection as a trigger of leukaemia development in children has been controversially discussed since decades and leukaemia occurrence in time-space cluster supports this hypothesis.
However experimental evidence, which proves the connection of exposure to infection and childhood leukaemia is rare.
We and colleagues have established and characterised two genetically modified mouse models representing classical subtypes of childhood leukemia (Pax5 /- and TEL-AML1).
The mice develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia only after exposure to a common infection environment and represent a similar phenotype as compared to acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in childhood.
This work offers for the first time novel insight into the role of infection in leukaemia development and offers novel approaches for leukemia prevention.