Britain’s leading expert in the most common childhood cancer believes keeping babies in a sterile environment can trigger it in those with a faulty gene.
It can leave their immune systems vulnerable, and common viruses such as flu can cause them to malfunction, ultimately causing leukaemia.
Experts from the Institute of Cancer Research in London now hope that harmless bugs could be used to prime immune systems to stop them developing acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. It could pave the way for trials of preventive treatments.
Professor Mel Greaves advised parents to be less fussy about common or trivial infections because they can be beneficial for their health.