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Oncology


Clinical Highlights

St. Jude is a leader in translating laboratory discoveries into life-saving treatments. Today, the hospital remains the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Below are selected highlights from 2011 and 2012.


Selected research highlights


Bone marrow transplant survival more than doubles for young, high-risk leukemia patients

Bone marrow transplant survival more than doubled in recent years for young, high-risk leukemia patients treated at St. Jude, with the most significant gains recorded in children who lacked genetically matched donors. The results are believed to be the best ever reported for leukemia patients who needed bone marrow transplantation but lacked a matched donor.
Blood, July 2011


Transplant advances make cures possible for more leukemia patients with lingering disease

Advances in bone marrow transplantation have pushed cure rates higher for childhood leukemia patients who go into the procedure with residual cancer cells. The findings may make transplants more widely available for this group of patients with no other option for curative therapy.
Blood, July 2012


Chemotherapy proves life-saving for some leukemia patients who fail induction therapy

Bone marrow transplants are traditionally used to treat patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who fail to attain clinical remission after induction therapy. This large international study finds that a subset of young patients with B-lineage ALL and induction failure could achieve an excellent 10-year survival rate of 72 percent when treated only with additional chemotherapy.
New England Journal of Medicine, April 2012


Improved diagnostic test benefits children with acute myeloid leukemia

Using flow cytometry to check for minimal residual disease in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is more accurate than two other widely used methods for predicting patient survival. The results help identify children who might benefit from more intensive therapy, including bone marrow transplantation.
Journal of Clinical Oncology, October 2012


Progress in quest to reduce use of radiation in treatment of pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma

Nearly half of young patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma in this study were cured without undergoing either irradiation or intensive chemotherapy that would leave them at risk for second cancers, infertility, and heart and other problems. The findings will likely spur efforts to identify patients with even more advanced disease whose cancer could be effectively treated with less irradiation.
Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2012


Equal access to care helps close survival gap for young African-American cancer patients

Although racial disparities in survival persist across the U.S., recent analysis confirms and extends results previously reported at St. Jude showing that, with equal access to comprehensive treatment, African-American and white pediatric cancer patients can achieve the same and improved survival rates.
Journal of Clinical Oncology, June 2012


Inherited risk factors for childhood leukemia are more common in Hispanic patients

Hispanic children are more likely than those from other racial and ethnic backgrounds to be diagnosed with ALL and are more likely to die of their disease. Now, genetic factors that underlie these statistics have been discovered, setting the stage for research to understand how genetic, environmental and other factors influence ALL risk and treatment response.
Journal of Clinical Oncology, March 2012


Age-related survival gap closing for adolescents with acute myeloid leukemia

Modern, risk-adapted therapies are shrinking the survival gap between younger patients with AML and adolescents and teenagers battling the same disease. Pediatric AML patients treated as part of the most recently completed St. Jude AML protocol enjoyed similar, historically high survival rates regardless of their age. Older patients were also just as likely as younger children to be cancer-free three years after diagnosis. 
Cancer, December 2012