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Understanding Ph+ CML in Chronic Phase
Information about Ph+ CML in chronic phase that you may find helpful
Even if you've been living with Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) in chronic phase for a while, it's still helpful to understand the biology behind the disease and what's happening in your body.
A swap between chromosomes 9 and 22 creates the Ph chromosome
What causes Ph+ CML?
Ph+ CML is caused by an abnormal fusion gene called BCR-ABL1. It is the result of pieces of 2 chromosomes in the body trading places.
Here’s a brief overview:
- Each cell in the human body has 23 pairs of chromosomes
- In Ph+ CML, pieces from chromosomes 9 and 22 break off and swap places
- This can create a new abnormal chromosome known as the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome
- The Ph chromosome creates the abnormal BCR-ABL1 fusion gene
- This abnormal gene then produces an abnormal protein called BCR-ABL
How does Ph+ CML affect the body?
Ph+ CML affects your bone marrow and your blood. Your bone marrow is a sponge-like tissue in the center of most of your bones.
Here’s what happens in the bone marrow:
- The BCR-ABL protein sends too many signals to the bone marrow
- The bone marrow starts creating too many immature white blood cells (commonly referred to as blast cells)
- These cells, which your doctor may call leukemic cells, grow abnormally and do not become healthy white blood cells
- The leukemic cells start to grow and divide and build up, crowding out red blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow
Here’s what happens in the bloodstream:
- As the bone marrow becomes overcrowded with leukemic cells, these cells move into the bloodstream
- Over time, the leukemic cells crowd out healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets
- This can lead to serious health problems, including, but not limited to, a greater risk of infections, as well as anemia, bruising easily, and bleeding that takes longer to stop
Doctors categorize Ph+ CML in phases instead of stages
While many types of cancer are categorized into stages, doctors assign 1 of 3 phases to Ph+ CML:
- Chronic phase: The first phase of Ph+ CML, when the number of white blood cells is higher than normal. Most adults are diagnosed in chronic phase
- Accelerated phase: The second phase of Ph+ CML, in which the number of immature white blood cells in the blood and bone marrow may increase rapidly
- Blast phase: The third and final phase of Ph+ CML. This phase has the highest number of immature blood cells in the blood and bone marrow
Take an active role in learning about Ph+ CML
The more you know about your disease, the better you may be able to communicate with your doctor. Go to the Helpful Resources page to find contact information for a wide range of advocacy groups that support patients with Ph+ CML. You’ll also learn about one of the many apps that you can use to track your treatment and connect with patients.
Learn about SCEMBLIX as a treatment option
By being your own advocate, you can work closely with your doctor to determine whether SCEMBLIX is right for you.
SCEMBLIX is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with:
- Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) in chronic phase (CP), previously treated with 2 or more tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Learn More
- Ph+ CML in CP with the T315I mutation. Learn More
It is not known if SCEMBLIX is safe and effective in children.
Learn why some doctors ask their patients to take a gene mutation test