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Clinical Trials for Children with Leukemia

Updated on December 10, 2015

Experimenting on my child?!?

If your child has been diagnosed with leukemia, it is important to know their treatment options. You may be surprised to find out that your local children's hospital or oncologist offers clinical trials (or research studies) as a part of your child's treatment.

Why should my child participate in clinical trials?

According to the World Health Organization, children are a unique population and have different developmental and physiological characteristics than adults. Clinical trials in children are important to develop age-specific and evidence-based therapies and interventions to determine and improve the best medical treatment available.

Is it ethical to have my child participate in a clinical trial?

Only you as a parent or guardian can decide if participating in a clinical trial is right for your child. Every hospital, university, or any institution that conducts clinical research has an institutional review board (IRB). The IRB is a group of professionals and lay people who review clinical trials and make sure that patients and families are well informed about all the risks and benefits of a study.

What clinical trials will the doctor put my child on?

The particular study that your child could go on depends on alot of factors (eligibility criteria). Some things your doctor might consider are:

  • What type of leukemia does the child have?
  • What was the child's white count (WBC) when diagnosed?
  • Did the child receive any special medications before the diagnosis?

The main organization that creates clinical trials for children with cancer is the Children's Oncology Group. Also, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a website that lists all the clinical trials ongoing in the U.S. Look at these websites to see what kinds of studies are available and what hospitals have openings for new patients on these studies.

Conquering Childhood Cancer

What should I do next?

Talk with your child's doctor to see if your child might be able to participate in a clinical trial. Clinical trials may give your child access to the best cancer treatment available. Find out what resources are available in your town. You don't always have to go to the the world famous children's hospitals for world class care.

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