Leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, is the most common cancer in children and adolescents. Leukemia accounts for 25 to 30 percent of all pediatric cancer cases.
The Texas Children's Cancer Center's Leukemia/Lymphoma Program provides comprehensive diagnosis, evaluation and management of pediatric patients with suspected or proven leukemia or lymphoma. This encompasses patients with any of the following diagnoses: acute lymphoid leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, one of the chronic leukemias or myelodysplastic syndromes, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease.
Recognizing that clinical trials are the standard of care for all children with cancer, every eligible Texas Children's Cancer Center patient is considered for entry in National Cancer Institute-approved trials, and the vast majority are registered on such studies. These treatment protocols represent leading-edge therapies in the field.
Acute lymphoid leukemia is by far the most common childhood leukemia. At Texas Children's Cancer Center, protocols for newly diagnosed patients study disease biology while offering novel treatment.
Current therapy for pediatric acute lymphoid leukemia classifies patients based on a number of risk factors. One of the most important risk factors relates to chromosome abnormalities within the leukemia cells. Because specific chromosome translocations are used to guide the intensity of therapy, accurate identification of chromosomal abnormalities prior to initiating treatment is essential.
Recently, a novel molecular technique, spectral karyotyping (SKY), was introduced at Texas Children's Cancer Center. This technique combines the advantages of spectral imaging and 24-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), permitting the analysis of the entire chromosome complement by a single hybridization. By displaying each chromosome in a unique color, SKY allows accurate identification of even subtle translocations not otherwise detectable.