Advances in modern intensive chemotherapy, and identifying different levels of risk, have revolutionised the treatment of children with leukaemia. But resistant leukaemia subtypes and late effects of chemotherapy and relapses remain significant problems, and leukaemia still causes 30% of cancer deaths in children. We particularly need new, targeted treatments for treating children who have relapsed following earlier treatment.
Those with relapsed/refractory disease are currently treated with allogeneic stem cell transplants. This treatment is prolonged, intensive and toxic, and causes short and long-term side effects for the child. This places a significant burden on children and their families, both whilst the child is being treated and in terms of the supportive care, and can involve long stays in hospital.
There is a desperate need for new, targeted, more effective and less toxic treatments to help save the lives of more children, and provide better quality of life for the survivors. Dr Katherine Clesham (pictured below) and her team are looking for new, targeted treatments.