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Immunotherapy for Leukemia
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  • About Immunotherapy
  • CRI's Impact
  • Related News & Resources

What Makes Immunotherapy a Promising Treatment for Leukemia?

Reviewed By: John C. Byrd, M.D.
D. Warren Brown Chair of Leukemia Research and Professor, The Ohio State University

A cancer of the blood and bone marrow, leukemia occurs most frequently in adults over 55 years of age, but is also the most common childhood cancer in patients less than 15 years old. There are four main types of leukemia: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)—each named for the rate at which the disease develops and worsens as well as the affected blood cell type.

In 2016, more than 60,000 cases of leukemia are expected to be reported, with over 24,000 deaths expected to occur. Current leukemia survival rates in the US vary from subtype to subtype, ranging from 26.6% for AML to 82.6% for patients with CLL.

In most cases of leukemia, chemotherapy is the first line of treatment for this disease, though some patients require stem cell transplant therapies to eliminate the leukemia entirely.

Several non-transplant immunotherapies have also been approved for leukemia, including targeted antibodies, an antibody-drug conjugate, a cytokine, and a relatively new form of cell-based immunotherapy known as CAR T cells (for children with leukemia). Other immunotherapies, such as adoptive cell therapy, monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, therapeutic vaccines, adjuvant immunotherapies, and cytokine are being evaluated in clinical trials. Adoptive cell immunotherapy, a type of treatment in which immune cells are genetically modified after removal from the patient and retransmitted to the patient in greater numbers, has been especially effective in many early clinical trials.

Are you a patient or caregiver interested in learning more about cancer immunotherapy treatment and clinical trials? If so, visit our Patient section on immunotherapy for leukeumia.

CRI's Impact on Leukemia

Throughout our history, CRI has funding numerous studies and clinical trials involving the treatment of leukemia with immunotherapy methods. Some of these studies have lead to revolutionary findings that hold the promising potential for curing several subtypes of leukemia.

With the support of our donor community, we provide financial support, grants, and fellowships to leading scientists in the field, and connect leukemia patients with promising clinical trials. With your support, we can make an impact on the future of leukemia immunotherapy—bringing lifesaving clinical trials and treatment to all those affected.

Featured Story

It was brutal, but I was prepared…I bounced back very quickly.

Karen Koehler
Leukemia  |  Diagnosed 2011
Read My Story
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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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