Leukemia - Acute Myeloid - AML - Childhood: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2018

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about AML, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to children diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your child’s doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for your child.

  • Genetic testing. The genetics of leukemia cells are being tested to see if they can help doctors decide which patients may need more or less intense treatment. These discoveries help doctors better understand the causes of leukemia, determine the prognosis for each child, and even develop new drugs that target these specific genetic changes.

  • Better detection. New methods to measure minimal residual disease (MRD) can find 1 leukemia cell in 10,000 healthy cells, which can help determine the likelihood of recurrence. Increasingly, changes made to chemotherapy treatments and/or the use of stem cell transplantation are partly based on these new types of tests.

  • New drugs and combinations of drugs. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to normal cells. Sorafenib (Nexavar) is a type of targeted therapy called a protein kinase inhibitor that specifically targets AML blasts with the FLT3 genetic mutation. It is being tested in combination with chemotherapy for children newly diagnosed with AML. Other new drugs that may be used for AML are being tested in clinical trials or are in development in research laboratories. Learn more about the basics of targeted treatments.

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current leukemia treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of childhood leukemia research, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

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