Leukemia (Pediatric)

Leukemia is a blood cancer that occurs when white blood cells in the bone marrow grow out of control. While it is the most common form of childhood cancer, leukemia is also the most curable form of cancer in children.

The experienced team of multidisciplinary specialists at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Program has the diagnostic capabilities and cutting-edge therapies, including novel clinical trials, to provide world-class care for children with leukemia. In addition, our Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program is one of the largest and most innovative in the country.

Leukemia symptoms and diagnosis

Common leukemia symptoms include weakness, bone pain, fever, easy bleeding and bruising. Leukemia is diagnosed with a blood test. Other tests, such as flow cytometry, which examines cells and chromosomes under a microscope, are used to identify the type of leukemia, and chromosome studies determine how to best treat the leukemia. We also use newer diagnostic techniques, including minimal residual disease measurement, to help our pediatric oncologists determine how well treatment is working and how to modify the therapy when needed.

Leukemia treatment

We treat all forms of childhood leukemia, including:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Other uncommon leukemia types, such as juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia and chronic myeloid leukemia

Our transplant team includes pediatric oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians.

Treatments vary depending on type of leukemia as well as other variables, but can include chemotherapy, targeted cellular therapy (using the patient’s immune system to help fight cancer and minimize side effects) and bone marrow transplant.

New forms of cellular therapy, such as CAR-T therapy, are quickly transforming the treatment of relapsed or resistant leukemia, helping a donor’s own blood cells target and fight cancer cells more effectively.  Michigan Medicine was the first center in the state to use CAR-T cells to treat childhood leukemia, having first administered CAR-T cells to a pediatric patient in 2014.

Leukemia clinical trials

We also have several clinical trials available for novel therapies, offered in conjunction with the Children’s Oncology Group, our own Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, and Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia (TACL). In fact, we are one of only 16 centers in the country that are part of TACL, a consortium focusing on developing new and innovative trials for relapsed or resistant leukemia.

Through our Stem Cell Initiatives, our researchers are developing a better understanding of leukemia stem cells to create better clinical trials and revolutionize how we treat cancer.

Take the next step

Schedule an appointment by calling us at 734-647-8902.