New research revealed on childhood leukemia

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, according to the American Cancer Society. It leaves parents in communities everywhere hoping for answers and now a researcher said he has three decades worth of work to show he is onto a contributor of the disease.

The BBC News reports the data from one of Britain's most esteemed scientists. Professor Mel Greaves says our germ-free life is the cause of the most common types of cancer in children. Greaves, with the Institute of Cancer Research, used a combination of studies over 30 years to show the immune system can become cancerous if it does not have exposure to enough bugs early in life.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia affects one in two-thousand children. Professor Greaves says there are three stages to the disease. First, a genetic mutation occurs inside the womb. Next, the child experiences a lack of exposure to microbes, important in teaching the immune system to deal with threats. That sets the stage for infections that can cause an immune malfunction and leukemia, he says.

Researchers said evidence shows that children who had older siblings or went to a nursery where they were exposed to bacteria had lower rates of leukemia. They said breastfeeding can also help, as well as other factors in his report.

Greaves said parents should consider introducing bacteria-rich yogurt into family diets and letting their kids play, while not being so fussy about germs.

These studies do not blame parents for being too hygienic, rather calls families to take a second look at the bacteria they have in their homes and the positive roles it may play.

For more information visit the American Cancer Society website.