Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE)

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Leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells, is the most common type of childhood cancer. Scientists at this center are examining how early exposure to toxic chemicals might contribute to leukemia in children.

Research at this center focuses on the effects of pesticides, tobacco-related contaminants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, or brominated flame retardants) in the womb and early in life. To determine if and how, early exposure to such chemicals might cause childhood leukemia, scientists are trying to identify which chemicals are associated with a higher risk for leukemia and are looking at how these chemicals interact with genes known to be involved in leukemia development.

Researchers at this children's center are evaluating environmental exposures in the womb and in early childhood, using existing home dust samples and biospecimens from the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study. They are also examining environmental and genetic influences for distinct leukemia subtypes and sharing their findings with other researchers and the public to help prevent childhood leukemia and improve children's health.

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