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.


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.


What Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)? Understanding the Basics

What is AML? What are the demographics for most patients? Watch as AML experts discuss AML and how you and your loved ones can face an AML diagnosis together.


Newly Diagnosed With AML? What Patients Need to Know

Where should patients and families turn when newly diagnosed with AML? What questions should they be asking? Watch as leading AML experts give insight.


Accessing and Integrating Mind-Body Medicine Resources Into Your Care

How can patients utilize mind-body medicine resources to complement their cancer care? Certified yoga therapist Raquel Jex Forsgren and expert Dr. Ishwaria Subbiah share ways to find and incorporate them into your wellness routine.


How Likely Is It for a Patient's Myelofibrosis or MDS to Transform Into AML?

What percentage of people with MDS or an MPN transform into AML? Our expert panel explains the signs to look for and what tests are done for patient risk assessment.


Genetic Profiling: Identifying High-Risk and Low-Risk AML Patients

What can you learn about your AML condition from your genetic profile? AML expert Dr. Ross Levine joined us at ASH 2017 to share the latest research on how molecular characterization affects AML prevention, progression and treatment.


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Page last updated on June 28, 2019