Journal article reports on research planned around local polycythemia vera cluster
The study outlines the research that's supposed to take place regarding the cluster. Among the organizations involved are Drexel University School of Public Health, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Geisinger Clinic, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection.
"This research agenda represents a unique and important opportunity to demonstrate that cancer cluster investigations can produce desirable public health and scientific outcomes when necessary resources are available," the abstract states.
The research to be done includes environmental testing around the cluster area's three waste coal cogeneration plants, which also burn waste diesel and fuel oil. An excess risk of polycythemia vera has been found in persons exposed to solvents, benzene, petroleum refineries and low doses of radiation.
In addition, the specific genetic mutation found in people with polycythemia vera is known to be associated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and most notably the PAH benzo(a)pyrene. Formed during the burning of coal, oil, gas and organic substances, PAHs are a pollutant of concern with the fluidized bed combustion systems used in waste coal plants.
To read the article, titled "A Multidisciplinary Investigation of a Polycythemia Vera Cancer Cluster of Unknown Origin," click here.