In the concerted effort to determine if there is a viral agent in the genesis of human leukemias, medicine must not lose sight of the fact that this anticipated discovery will not explain all the etiological puzzles.
The "other end" of the leukemia problem includes such unanswered —or incompletely answered—questions as the interaction of the initiating event and cell differentiation, the role of the thymus and the closely related factor of immunological response.
These and other aspects of leukemia research and therapy—including the questions of a viral agent—were discussed at a recent symposium sponsored by the Leukemia Society, titled "Perspectives in Leukemia."
What follows is a brief summary of three reports dealing primarily with non-viral problems in leukemogenesis.
In at least some forms of leukemia, the agent that induces the disease appears to block, at some stage, the process of cell differentiation; that is, the leukemia cell remains