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, 36 (1), 6-13

The Discovery and Early Understanding of Leukemia


The Discovery and Early Understanding of Leukemia

Kim R Kampen. Leuk Res.


The early history of leukemia reaches back 200 years. In 1811, Peter Cullen defined a case of splenitis acutus with unexplainable milky blood. Alfred Velpeau defined the leukemia associated symptoms, and observed pus in the blood vessels (1825). Alfred Donné detected a maturation arrest of the white blood cells (1844). John Bennett named the disease leucocythemia, based on the microscopic accumulation of purulent leucocytes (1845). That same year, Rudolf Virchow defined a reversed white and red blood cell balance. He introduced the disease as leukämie in 1847. Henry Fuller performed the first microscopic diagnose of a leukemic patient during life (1846). This gradual process brought us towards our current understanding of this complex disease.

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