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May 15, 2014
Back in 1999-2000, the Nabil Mazhar cytogenetics lab had been renovated from just a cubicle to an area that is 4 times its size through AFNCI coordination and financial support of the Mazhar family in the memory of their son, Nabil Mazhar. Assistant professor Doctor Farida Gadallah said back then “the new cytogencietics laboratory has changed our work in more ways than you can imagine .” Moving from what was really a cubicle to an area that is four times the size allowed Dr. Farida and her staff of three physicians to perform their precise work in state of the art surroundings. The AFNCI had, then, supported the laboratory by providing expertise and funding for equipment, supplies, staff training and system development. One of Dr. Gadallah’s colleagues went to France twice to study the FISH techniques for assisting in the diagnosis of leukemia and other malignancies This was the first fully operating cytogenetics laboratory in Egypt. It served the NCI but also accepted referrals from public and private centers throughout Egypt which helped to cover its operating expenses.The AFNCI was proud of being instrumental in providing this essential service to the leukemia patients of the NCI.
Today, “the Lab is seeing an average 1700 leukemia cases yearly; this figure represents both the new and follow-up cases” reveals Mr. Ahmed Abdo, one of the present lab technicians. Mr. Zakaria Sayed Hussein who has been working there for 32 years now, explains patiently to the visitors the purpose and use of every piece of equipment: the special deep freezers, the microscopes, the incubator, the laminar flow, centrifuge….etc
Cytogenetics is the field of diagnosing leukemia through the analysis of the special pattern of chromosomes in this type of cancer. This particular field of cells testing is also helpful in evaluating the prognosis because it has become one of the major components of staging two main types of leukemia: AML and ALL. It also helps in identifying whether there is resistance to chemotherapy and detects if there is a small amount of disease left during the treatment phase. The future goal of leukemia treatment is to individualize the patient’s treatment according to the cytogenetic results to prevent over or under treating patients.
This post is also available in: Arabic