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Leukemia Treatment for Children

Our approach

At MD Anderson's Children's Cancer Hospital, we know your child's health and well being are your number one concern. Our renowned experts customize your child's care for leukemia utilizing the most advanced treatments and techniques with the least impact on your child's growing body. As part of one of the world's most active cancer centers, Children's Cancer Hospital has remarkable experience and skill in these types of cancer. This can make a difference in your child's outcome.

Customized leukemia care plans

A team of specially trained physicians follows your child throughout treatment, all the way to survivorship. They communicate closely with each other, and with you, to ensure comprehensive, personalized care. They are supported by full complement of health care professionals dedicated to your child's treatment, including nurses, physician assistants, therapists and others.

Children's Cancer Hospital offers clinical trials for innovative new treatments for leukemia. Behind the scenes we are working on groundbreaking basic science research to change the future of pediatric cancer.

Treating the whole child

Children's Cancer Hospital is designed just for children, with a full range of services and amenities that help make the child and family's experience as comfortable as possible. We go beyond medical care to deliver a comprehensive experience that treats the whole child.

And at Children's Cancer Hospital, your child benefits from the resources and expertise of one of the nation's top cancer centers.

Our childhood leukemia treatments

The Children's Cancer Hospital's leukemia treatment team includes experts in all forms of cancer therapy. They collaborate on each case to decide the best possible treatment for every child.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is the most common treatment for pediatric leukemia. There are three stages of chemotherapy for pediatric leukemia patients. ALL patients get all three, while AML need just the first two.

  • The remission induction stage is designed to kill most of the disease cells in the blood and bone marrow, putting the disease into remission, when the signs and symptoms of the disease have mostly or completely disappeared. Treatment during this stage is intense, and often requires long hospital stays. It’s also effective: More than 95% of children enter remission after one month of care.
  • Consolidation is designed to kill any remaining cancer cells. This stage is also called intensification, since it is usually more intense than remission induction
  • Maintenance, or continuation therapy, is designed to kill any final remaining cells and to prevent relapse. Children in the high-risk group may get a more intense therapy during this stage.

A stem cell transplant may be required for children whose leukemia has returned or has not responded to standard treatments. Blood stem cells are taken from the bone marrow of the patient before cancer treatment (autologous), or from a donor whose marrow most closely matches the patient (allogeneic). Stem cells may also be collected from a newborn's umbilical cord and placenta and used for a cord blood transplant. These cells are used to replace diseased stem cells destroyed by cancer treatment, creating a new "blood factory" that will hopefully produce healthy, mature white blood cells.

Radiation therapy may be used when leukemia has affected the brain and central nervous system or is likely to spread to these areas. Beams of radiation are precisely aimed at the treatment area from outside the body.  

Treatment at MD Anderson

Childhood leukemia is treated in our Children's Cancer Hospital.

Clinical Trials

MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.

Knowledge Center

Find the latest news and information about childhood leukemia in our Knowledge Center, including blog posts, articles, videos, news releases and more.

Counseling

MD Anderson has licensed social workers to help patients and their loved ones cope with cancer.

myCancerConnection

Talk to someone who shares your cancer diagnosis and be matched with a survivor.

Prevention and Screening

Many cancers can be prevented with lifestyle changes and regular screening.