Identification of Genetic Variants Which Correlate with the Presence of Cognitive Deficits in Post-Treatment Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) Patients
Over the years, it has become apparent to pediatric oncologists that many children who receive chemotherapy treatments for leukemia end up developing acute cognitive deficits. The purpose of this study was to try and figure out if there are specific genes that correlate with occurrence of these deficits. Bone marrow fluid was collected from children who were in remission after having Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The samples’ DNA was purified using standard lab procedures. They were then augmented by using the Polymerase Chain Reaction, and tested for the presence of three different genes (ILB1, ILA1, and IL1RN) which would prove correlation with the presence of genetic errors in those patients. Statistical analysis showed that these genes were not statistically significant. However, two genes (NOS3, SLCO2A1) used in a larger study that this study was a portion of exhibited cause of cognitive dysfunction. Further research could involve testing those significant genes using more variables and different patient samples and/or testing whether those patients at risk for cognitive deficits can be protected from the toxic effects of other chemotherapy drugs.
Anna Diyamandoglu joined the Authentic Science Research Program when she was a sophomore in high school. She decided to study leukemia after having witnessed one of her immediate family members undergo treatment for ALL. Throughout her time in the program she was an Honorable Mention Winner for the DuPont Essay Challenge, as well as a recipient of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Award, and The Rockland County Medical Society Award. Anna will be attending St. John's University to study Pharmacy. She eventually hopes to pursue a medical degree or a Ph.D.
I would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Peter Cole, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr, Veena Vijayanathan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for their guidance in my research endeavors. In addition I’d like to thank my science research teachers, Ms. Mary Foisy and Mrs. Kirsten Kleinman and my parents for all their support.