Pediatric Leukemia

Children treated here have access to more clinical trials and new treatments than anywhere else in Minnesota. Many of the treatments now available to patients with leukemia were pioneered here at the University of Minnesota.
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Leukemia is the most common cancer that affects children. It is a type of cancer found in the blood and bone marrow where blood cells are formed. The disease is caused by an excessive production of abnormal white blood cells that are unable to fight infection. This out-of-control growth of abnormal white blood cells impairs the ability of bone marrow to produce platelets and red blood cells.

The types of leukemia we treat include:
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Bi-phenotypic Leukemia
  • Infant Leukemia
  • Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML)
  • Undifferentiated Leukemia

Our Approach

Children treated here have access to more clinical trials and new treatments than anywhere else in Minnesota. Many of the treatments now available to patients with leukemia were pioneered here at the University of Minnesota. Our discoveries become the standard of care for patients around the world.

Our physicians work closely with researchers at Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, allowing us access to the latest advances in the treatment of leukemia. Patients receive care from the same physicians who create, develop, and lead pediatric leukemia studies, including high risk and very high risk leukemias.

Our hospital is also home to one of the nation’s premier pediatric blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) programs. BMT is a treatment that is an essential part of therapy for many patients with relapsed leukemia.

Unique program just for kids with leukemia or lymphoma

Cancer and its treatments can have negative effects on many aspects of a child’s health, such as nutrition, physical strength, the ability to learn and retain information. These effects need to be assessed and treated, but trying to coordinate appointments with the various specialists a child would need to see can be overwhelming. One of the primary reasons we established the Comprehensive Pediatric Leukemia and Lymphoma Program was to ease this burden.

We develop a coordinated plan for all aspects of care related to the whole health of a child with leukemia or lymphoma, all in a single clinic visit. Every child, adolescent and young adult with leukemia or lymphoma at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital receives this comprehensive assessment and care.

At each 90-minute clinic appointment, a child will typically see a variety of professionals, such as a pediatric oncologist, nurse practitioner, neuropsychologist, nutritionist, social worker, and child-family life specialist. This multidisciplinary team then designs a comprehensive, coordinated care plan to assess, monitor, and treat the effects of cancer on the child’s whole health. The objective is early assessment of any secondary condition so preemptive measures can be taken.

Patients are seen by highly trained specialists, who are able to recognize subtle indications of problems before damaging conditions can progress.

Specialists, physicians, and families create a care plan together, resulting in customized, coordinated care, and enhanced communication with patients and their families:
  • Combining appointments into a single visit reduces the number of clinic appointments.
  • Can coordinate care with Integrative Health and Wellbeing program to happen during one visit.

Treatments, Tests, and Procedures

Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapy

At University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, we perform the two main types of stem cell transplant: Autologous transplant – uses the body’s own stem cells and Allogeneic transplant – uses well-matched stem cells from another person.
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Chemotherapy is a treatment option for adults or children with cancer using drugs that kill cancer cells. Often simply called “chemo,” chemotherapy is a combination of medications designed to destroy cancer cells, cause remission of your cancer or actually cure the cancer.
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Pediatric Radiation Oncology

Radiation is an essential part of treatment for many children with cancer and other disorders. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to shrink tumors, kill cancer cells and treat other non-cancerous conditions.
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Cellular Therapies

Cellular therapies supplement the immune system’s natural ability to fight cancer in several ways. Some cellular therapies modify immune cells (certain T-lymphocytes, for example) to target and destroy cancer cells.
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Immunotherapy is an emerging form of cancer treatment with great promise and limited toxicity. Its goal is to harness the power of the patient’s immune system and use it to fight cancer. Sometimes called biological therapy, it's changing the way we think about cancer treatment.
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There may be other treatments, test, and procedures for this diagnosis, including:

  • Radiation Therapy
  • Medical Management

Call your preferred location to schedule an appointment or submit an online request.