The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will hold a public meeting in the Tamaqua Area Auditorium at Tamaqua Area High School, 500 Penn St, Saturday, October 24, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to update area residents on recent efforts regarding polycythemia vera (PV).

At the meeting, representatives from ATSDR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Geisinger Clinic, and the Myeloproliferative Disease (MPD) Research Consortium will present overviews of their current PV research projects.

In addition, ATSDR will provide an update on the ongoing JAK2 screening in the local community. Residents can also learn more about a community group which will work with investigators and the community in these efforts.

PV is a rare form of blood cancer. The JAK2 genetic marker occurs in more than 95% of PV patients. Because of the elevated number of PV cases in this area, ATSDR is in the process of screening almost 1,500 local residents for the JAK2 genetic marker. It is not known at this time if the JAK2 marker always leads to PV or another blood disease. Many experts believe people with PV and related blood disorders may test positive for the JAK2 marker for a number of years before ever exhibiting symptoms of PV.