What Part Does Genetics Play in Pediatric Leukemia?

Leukemia, which usually occurs because of a mutation — or DNA change — is the most common childhood cancer. Some genetic syndromes can create a predisposition to leukemia, as well as other blood disorders.

Pediatric Leukemia: Signs and Symptoms

Pediatric leukemia is cancer of the blood and develops in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the soft, spongy center of the long bones that produces the three major blood cells: white blood cells to fight infection; red blood cells that carry oxygen; and platelets that help the blood clot and stop bleeding. When … Continued

Pediatric Patient and Social Worker Forge Bond From Clinic to College

Like many of Dana-Farber’s youngest patients, 3-year-old Hannah Packman brought a favorite plaything to each of her Jimmy Fund Clinic visits. Lulu the doll, however, was unique because of the extra attention she received from pediatric social worker Deborah Berk, LICSW. When Hannah had a blood draw, Berk arranged for Lulu to have one as … Continued

What’s New in Treatment for Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)?

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a type of leukemia in which a group of white blood cells, called lymphocytes, are affected. Leukemia is the most common form of cancer in children, and about 80 percent of children with leukemia have acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy was approved in August 2017 for the … Continued

FDA Gives First-Ever Approval to CAR T-Cell Therapy

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that a drug called CTL019 has become the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved to treat a form of cancer. The decision means the drug can be used as standard therapy for the treatment of pediatric and young adult patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) … Continued

Feeling Lucky in an Unlucky Situation

By all accounts, Annie McNamara was living a typical young adult’s life in 2015. The 26-year-old lived in South Boston with a good friend from college, worked in Duxbury in the retail department of Island Creek Oysters, and liked spending time with her friends and boyfriend, Dan. She wasn’t a huge fan of the gym … Continued

The New Frontier: Improving Safety of Outpatient Care At Home

After Lacey Martin’s leukemia didn’t respond to initial rounds of chemotherapy and after she spent 10 weeks hospitalized for a stem cell transplant, the 11-year-old New Hampshire girl went home March 2 with an external line for medications that her mother would have to flush and clean twice a day. Lacey’s immune system and infection-fighting … Continued

Teaghan Swims through Leukemia Treatment

  Holding hands, 3-year-old Teaghan Bresnahan and her mom run the length of the lake-front dock. At the dock’s end, Teaghan lets go – and gleefully leaps into the air to land in the water with a satisfying splash. It may seem a typical summer scene. But for Teaghan, who has been in treatment for … Continued

The Power of Patient and Family Centered Care: One Mom’s Journey

By Sara Dickison Taylor On June 2, 2008, my then 5 ½-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). My world would never be the same. My husband and I had an eerie sense that something was very wrong. Emily’s high fevers were not resolving, even after countless days of ibuprofen doses, and her … Continued

Brother Donates Stem Cells to Sister Battling Leukemia

On September 24, 2015, in a sixth floor room at Boston Children’s Hospital, 5-year-old Logan Lesselroth pressed the button that started the transfer of his newly harvested blood stem cells to his 3-year-old sister, Gianna. “This,” Gianna told him, “is a gift from your body.” The path to that moment and the stem cell transplant’s … Continued

Progress in the Treatment of Childhood Leukemia

Although treatments for childhood cancer patients are improving, cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children. Doctors and researchers are also focused on decreasing the toxicity of these treatments, which can have side effects years after a child finishes treatment. “The war against childhood cancer is hardly over,” says Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, … Continued

Five Ways to Support Families Dealing with Childhood Cancer

By Jane Roper When our five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) last summer, our world was turned upside down. Extended hospital stays, twice weekly clinic visits, the side effects of chemo and the constant possibility of unexpected hospital admissions mean stress and exhaustion for all of us — and looming in the background of … Continued