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Study: 9/11 responders at greater risk of blood cancers, cardiovascular disease

Samples from Nashville FFs helped researchers compare risks


Responders who were exposed to World Trade Center dust are more likely to have a DNA mutation that can lead to blood cancers and cardiovascular disease, a new study found.

FEMA/Andrea Booher

By Leila Merrill

NASHVILLE — A new study found that 9/11 responders were more likely than other firefighters to have a genetic mutation that can lead to blood cancers and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers used de-identified DNA data of 203 Nashville firefighters from BioVU, Vanderbilt’s biorepository of DNA extracted from discarded blood collected during routine clinical testing, according to a VUMC post. Patients can choose to opt in to BioVU.

The researchers compared the Nashville data and samples from IAFF members who did not respond to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks with data from 9/11 responders.

Further studies of trade center particulate matter and how blood cancer develops are ongoing.

The study was published on March 7 in Nature Medicine. The research team’s members are with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, the Fire Department of the City of New York Bureau of Health Services, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, New York University School of Medicine, Genoptix, The Leukemia Lymphoma Society and Dana Farber Cancer Center.