Jefferson University Hospitals

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

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Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
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If your child is diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the experienced team at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center - Jefferson can carefully guide you through available treatment options that address all the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of you and your family.

Bringing together the expertise of Jefferson Health oncologists, hematologists, pathologists, radiation therapists and radiologists, your medical team will give your child a thorough evaluation and devise a personalized treatment plan based on the nature of the cancer and its progression. Treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia usually involves a combination of radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and chemotherapy. Our medical team will help you weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment, so you can choose the option that is best for your child.

In advanced cases, physicians may perform bone marrow stem cell transplantation to replace cells damaged by chemotherapy with healthy ones. Jefferson Health's transplant program is led by Neal Flomenberg, M.D., an internationally renowned bone marrow transplant specialist who is pioneering efforts to reduce complications of transplant procedures, such as a potentially fatal reaction called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in which the donor marrow attacks its new host. Dr. Flomenberg has developed an innovative approach to reducing GVHD in bone marrow transplants that use a donor's stem cells.

The standard method for preventing GVHD, which involves delivering chemotherapy drugs prior to transplantation, can weaken the immune system, which may cause infections and even secondary cancers. Through this novel procedure developed at Jefferson, chemotherapy drugs are administered after the introduction of T cells but before stem cells are given. As a result, GVHD-causing cells are killed, while sparing cells that restore the immune system. In clinical trials, this approach is bringing individuals lacking well-matched donors quicker, broader access to transplants with better results.

The Center's physicians and scientists have helped pioneer new approaches to cancer treatment by translating scientific discoveries into improved patient care. Our physicians are experienced in using the most advanced treatment methods and technologies and are at the forefront of developing new chemotherapies. Jefferson is also home to the region's busiest radiation oncology center and one of the largest programs for cancer treatment in the Delaware Valley.

Additionally, we will provide you and your family a support network that includes specially trained nurses, educators, fellow patients and cancer survivors. Among the wide variety of support programs offered at Jefferson is our Buddy Program, which matches cancer patients with trained volunteer cancer survivors who have been through treatment themselves. You can also access services to meet your child's emotional and psychological needs during the course of treatment through the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health.