What is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Program?

Seattle Children's Leukemia and Lymphoma Program is part of our cancer center that provides treatment for young people with cancer of the blood (leukemia) or lymph system (lymphoma). We provide expert care to all children, teens and young adults with leukemia or lymphoma, even those who may have run out of options elsewhere. Advanced therapies, some developed right here in Seattle, hold promise for patients who are starting their first cancer treatment, as well as those with refractory, recurrent or relapsed disease.

What's special about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Program at Seattle Children's?

We always strive for better survival rates

Seattle Children's is a leader in childhood leukemia and lymphoma care and research. Outcomes for our patients are among the best in the nation. Here's how our five-year survival rate compares to the national average.

Our doctors meet regularly with local stem cell transplant experts

At Seattle Children's, we offer hematopoietic cell transplants (HCTs) through our partner, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Doctors at the Hutch pioneered this stem cell treatment.

Childhood cancer doctors (pediatric oncologists) at Seattle Children's meet twice a month with transplant doctors. They discuss each high-risk leukemia patient's case and make a plan. The plan includes how to get your child's disease in remission, what kind of transplant to do and how to reduce the risk of cancer coming back after transplant.

This type of planning by a group of experts sets Seattle Children's apart from most childhood cancer centers.

We offer access to clinical trials for leukemia and lymphoma

The oncologists at Seattle Children's are also world-class researchers. We lead research projects in the lab and studies at the hospital to understand leukemia and lymphoma better and make treatment more effective for every child and teen. Through  clinical trials, your child has access to the latest treatments that have shown promise in earlier research.

We are one of the few childhood cancer centers to offer treatment in Phase I trials for leukemia and lymphoma. These are early studies to find and test new medicines.

Some of our most exciting research into these diseases includes:

Reprogramming a child's cells to fight their cancer: pediatric leukemia adoptive therapy (PLAT)-01 and PLAT-02 

Dr. Michael Jensen developed a method to reprogram a patient's own T cells to identify and attack cancer cells. The T cells are reprogrammed and grown to billions of cells at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute. Then they are put back in the patient's body through a simple infusion. This T-cell therapy is one type of immunotherapy .

We're testing this immunotherapy now in children and young adults with relapsed and refractory ALL who are not likely to survive with standard therapy. Our hope is that one day we can use this same type of therapy for lymphoma and other cancers. Read more about this new cancer therapy, the PLAT studies and Milton Wright III, one of the first patients to take part.

Testing new drugs: Children's Oncology Group study AAML 1031

Researchers are studying two new drugs, bortezomib and sorafenib, along with standard chemotherapy for children with AML that's newly diagnosed. The goal is to improve the cure rate. Sorafenib is being tested in AML patients with high amounts of the FLT3 gene mutation. This mutation allows cancer cells to grow, and patients with high amounts are less likely to respond well to standard treatment. Sorafenib has been shown to block the effect of the mutant gene. Dr. Soheil Meshinchi works on this and many other clinical studies to find better AML treatments. In his lab, Meshinchi is searching for ways to identify patients who have high-risk AML so doctors can tell from the start which treatments they need. Read more about AAML 1031 and about Havianna Hornish, who was treated with sorafenib.

Improving donor cell transplants

Drs.Colleen Delaney and Marie Bleakley focus on ways to improve allogeneic HCTs (stem cell transplants using donor cells), which may cure leukemia and lymphoma. They're working to develop new forms of transplants, like cord blood transplants, and to prevent severe and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD can happen if some of the donor T cells attack the patient's normal cells along with their cancer. Bleakley is studying whether results are better if doctors remove some T cells from the donor cells before transplant. Read more about cord blood transplants .

We are national leaders in research

Our leukemia and lymphoma doctors are active in these national research groups:

How will Seattle Children's meet my needs?

Everyone in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Program works to cure your child's disease, support your family during treatment, provide follow-up care and give your child a full, healthy life.

We work as a team

The doctors and nurses in the program are joined by many other staff members to provide a full range of care and services to meet your child's and family's needs. From nutrition support and Child Life services to the Family Resource Center and Cancer Survivor Program, you have a whole team behind you. Our entire focus is on helping your child with leukemia or lymphoma beat their disease and thrive.

To make an appointment, call 206-987-2106.

We provide second opinions

If a doctor at another hospital or clinic has diagnosed leukemia or lymphoma in your child or teen, you can request a second opinion at Seattle Children's. A second opinion is a chance to confirm the features of your child's disease and the best treatment options - which might include treatment in a study that isn't offered everywhere.

To request a second opinion, call 206-987-2106.

We offer support for families who live outside the area

We have worked with many families from around the country and the world, and we have in place many services to help support you if you're coming from elsewhere. These include:

Our doctors

Meet the doctors who care for children and teens in our Leukemia and Lymphoma Program.

More patient stories

Meet more children and families who've received treatment through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Program.