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Philadelphia (medical term)

Philadelphia (pronounced: /ˌfɪləˈdɛlfiə/) is a term used in the field of medicine to refer to the Philadelphia chromosome, an abnormality that is commonly associated with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and sometimes other types of leukemia and lymphoma. The term is named after the city of Philadelphia, where it was first discovered and described in 1960.


The term "Philadelphia" in this context is derived from the city of Philadelphia in the United States, where the chromosome was first identified by scientists David Hungerford and Peter Nowell at the University of Pennsylvania. The term "chromosome" comes from the Greek words "chroma" meaning color and "soma" meaning body, referring to the colored bodies seen under the microscope during cell division.

Related Terms

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia: A type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and invades the blood. It is associated with the Philadelphia chromosome.
  • Leukemia: A group of cancers that usually begins in the bone marrow and results in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells.
  • Lymphoma: A group of blood malignancies that develop from lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).
  • Cancer: A group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.
  • Bone marrow: The flexible tissue in the interior of bones that produces blood cells.
  • White blood cell: Also called leukocytes, these are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.

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