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, the 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.
The 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
The Children's Cancer Hospital is designed just for children, with a full range of services and amenities that help make the child’s 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 the Children's Cancer Hospital, your child benefits from the resources and expertise of one of the nation's top cancer centers.
Chemotherapy for childhood leukemia
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is the most common treatment for pediatric leukemia.
For acute leukemia patients, chemotherapy is given in two or three stages. Patients with ALL get all three, while AML patients 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 considered high-risk group may get a more intense therapy during this stage.
Stem cell transplants for childhood leukemia
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 (called an autologous transplant). They can also be from a donor whose bone marrow most closely matches the patient (an allogeneic transplant). 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 blood cells.
CAR T-cell therapy for childhood leukemia
CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that engineers a patient’s own T cells to recognize and attack cancer. For leukemia, it is only available to patients under age 25 with B-cell ALL. Only patients who have been treated unsuccessfully with at least two other cancer therapies are eligible.
Targeted therapy for childhood leukemia
Targeted therapy does not kill cancer cells directly. Instead, this treatment is designed to stop or slow the growth of cancer by interfering with, or targeting, molecules or genes in cancer cells that help the disease survive, grow and spread.
Radiation therapy for childhood leukemia
Radiation therapy uses high energy beams to kill cancer cells. Though it’s not a primary treatment for leukemia, it may be used when the disease has affected the brain and central nervous system or is likely to spread to these areas. It can also be used to kill masses of leukemia cells that have gathered together in places like the abdomen or spleen.
Treatment at MD Anderson
Childhood leukemia is treated in our Children's Cancer Hospital.
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering
promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.
Find the latest news and information about childhood leukemia in our
Knowledge Center, including blog posts, articles, videos, news
releases and more.