The pediatric cancer research program is an integral component of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, one the most famous cancer research centers in the world. This National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only two in Illinois, comprises an outstanding and extensive team of laboratory scientists, caregivers, clinical researchers and trainees who work together to unlock the mysteries behind all types of cancer and to develop solutions to the complexity of individual cancers. Greater than fifty current investigators -- funded from federal, state and philanthropic sources -- have made key discoveries that advanced the understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of leukemia. Over a forty year time span, the comprehensive and collaborative nature of University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center has allowed several major advances in the diagnosis and treatment of leukemia including:
- Identifying chromosomal rearrangements that activate cancer-causing genes. This important discovery contributed to the development of current targeted gene therapies.
- Distinguishing chemotherapy approaches that allow many more children to survive the riskiest forms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
- Discovering the gene defect that contributes to a rare form of leukemia seen in children with Down syndrome. This observation is now being exploited more broadly for the development of therapies of several forms of leukemia.