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Researchers discover 'pre-cancers' in blood

Researchers discover 'pre-cancers' in blood

(AP) - Scientists have discovered a gene mutation among older people that could start them on the path to leukemia, lymphoma or other blood disease.

The discovery of the so-called “pre-cancer” was made by two international research teams working independently, decoding the DNA of about 30,000 people.

The gene mutations were rare in people under 40, but found in about 10 percent of those over 65 and in nearly 20 percent of folks over 90.

Having one of the mutations does not destine someone to develop a blood cancer, but it raises the risk of that more than tenfold. It also increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke, and of dying from any cause over the next four to eight years.

The research is to be presented next month at an American Society of Hematology conference but have been published ahead of time, online by the New England Journal of Medicine, because of their importance. They were led by the broad institute of MIT and Harvard-affiliated groups, and mostly funded by the national institutes of health.

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