What Is AML?

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a form of blood cancer that affects myeloid cells. In normal bone marrow, myeloid cells eventually become mature blood cells, including certain types of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Click the diagram on the right to see how blood cells mature from stem cells in the bone marrow. These cells then leave bone marrow to perform protective functions in the blood vessels.

When someone develops AML, the myeloid cells are unable to mature and so continue to multiply in the bone marrow. As they multiply, they take up the space needed for healthy cells to mature and grow, and this is what causes the symptoms of AML and a patient to feel unwell.

We don’t know exactly what causes AML, but there is a lot of research going on to help us understand the risk factors and treat the disease better.

AML develops rapidly and so it is crucial that treatment starts as soon as possible. Once an AML diagnosis has been made, you and your healthcare team will have to work together to quickly decide the most appropriate treatment. Support during this difficult time is also available from patient groups.

 Watch the videos below to learn more about this disease.



What Testing Is Recommended Before Starting AML Treatment?

AML expert Dr. Daniel Pollyea explains what testing is recommended to identify key features of an individual’s AML before starting treatment. Watch now to learn more.


Diagnosing and Managing AML: Understanding Disease Presentation

Leading AML expert Dr. Uma Borate goes back to the basics to explain how AML presents itself in the body and the recommended testing at diagnosis. Watch now to learn more.


Will CAR T-Cell Therapy Work for Solid Tumor Cancers?

Is CAR T-cell therapy on the horizon for patients with solid tumor cancers? Watch as Dr. David Maloney discusses advances in CAR-T research, current clinical studies, treatment efficacy and more.


What Is the Relationship Between Emotional Stress and AML Prognosis?

Is there a connection between emotional distress and AML prognosis? Listen as Dr. Thomas LeBlanc shares findings from a recent clinical study on factors that influence treatment outcomes and patient response rates.


Is Clinical Trial Participation Parallel to the Pace of Drug Development?

Can low clinical trial enrollment stifle advances in cancer care? Watch as expert Dr. Richard Schilsky discusses why, especially in the age of precision medicine, trial participation is critical.


Are Clinical Trial Designs Becoming More Patient-Friendly?

How is the process for clinical trials written with patients in mind? Tune in to hear noted expert Dr. Richard L. Schilsky explain changes in clinical trial care to help patients and researchers.


Transform Your Outlook: How a Change in Perspective Can Improve Life With a Chronic Cancer

How can a perspective shift help change a cancer patient’s quality of life? Watch now to hear expert and patient advice on coping strategies to help overcome cancer diagnosis emotional and psychological challenges.


Maximizing Your AML Care: How Can Patients Advocate for Genetic Testing?

With education happening across the country for patients and doctors alike on genetic testing, how can AML patients advocate for this testing? Watch as Dr. Naval Daver provides insight.


How Can Experts Overcome Language and Cultural Barriers to Increase Clinical Trial Participation?

How are researchers helping to improve participation by minorities in clinical trials? Watch as expert Dr. Richard Schilsky discusses language and cultural barriers.


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Page last updated on June 28, 2019