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Association of Myxovirus-like Particles with Acute Leukæmia of Childhood


THE presence of virus-like particles in thin sections of material from mice and chickens with virus-induced leukæmias has been reported1–5. Particles of similar morphology have been observed in thin sections of human leukæmic tissue1,6 as well as in leukæmic plasma6–8. However, because of a lack of a suitable biological system, there is still no conclusive evidence that human leukæmia or any other human malignancy is virus-induced. We, therefore, feel that the application of physical methods, not only for recognition but also for quantitation of viruses, is especially valuable at this time. For this reason, part of our efforts in the investigation of acute leukæmia of childhood (see ref. 9 for details of study design and tissue culture findings) are being directed toward applying recently developed electron microscopic methods for the staining and counting of virus particles10–12. We have avoided the use of thin-sectioning methods because of their poor sensitivity in revealing low concentrations of virus and the difficulties associated with interpreting the results quantitatively. The results of investigations of sera and heparinized plasma from children with acute leukæmia, from healthy children, and from normal adults are reported here. The purpose of the work was not only to search for particles with internal structure, but also to determine quantitatively the number of particles with limiting membranes having the size and general appearance of myxoviruses.

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BENYESH-MELNICK, M., SMITH, K. & FERNBACH, D. Association of Myxovirus-like Particles with Acute Leukæmia of Childhood. Nature 202, 1129–1130 (1964).

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