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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Childhood Leukemia Care Services

The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital provides comprehensive diagnostics, treatments and long-term follow-up care for children and adolescents who have leukemia.


We offer the latest tools and technology for diagnosing childhood cancer. The diagnosis of leukemia begins with a complete medical history and physical exam followed by medical tests. Diagnostic procedures for leukemia include:

  • complete blood count (CBC) to examine white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy to look at the cavity where all blood cells in the body are made. This is where leukemia starts.
  • State-of–the-art flow cytometry analysis, molecular diagnostics, and a chromosome analysis to determine the subtype of leukemia.
  • spinal tap to examine the fluid that covers the brain and spine to determine if any of the leukemia has spread to the cerebral spinal fluid.

Advanced Treatments

When choosing a course of treatment, our leukemia specialists do everything possible to minimize the effects of therapy on a child's health and development. In addition to conventional treatments, we provide the latest therapies for leukemia and lymphoma including:

  • The most recent approaches to chemotherapy, including the newest targeted agents
  • The most advanced radiation therapy, which focuses on cancer cells, avoiding harm to healthy cells and tissue
  • Blood stem cell and bone marrow transplantation
  • CAR T-cell therapy, a breakthrough form of gene therapy only available in Chicago at UChicago Medicine
  • Combined modalities of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation when needed
  • Advanced supportive therapies to reduce fatigue, infections, bleeding, nausea and other side effects of treatment
  • Clinical trials of promising new therapies

Our doctors and researchers continue to look for ways to refine treatments so that patients get the most effective therapy with the least toxicity. At the University of Chicago, our pediatric and adult leukemia experts work closely together to study several aspects of the disease, with the goal of finding new and novel ways to tailor leukemia treatment for each patient. Learn more (PDF)

Therapy for Refractory or Relapsed Leukemia

Our program takes an aggressive approach to treating leukemia that is refractory (especially challenging to treat) or has relapsed (returned after initial treatment). We are always looking for new drugs and more effective treatments, such as stem cell transplantation and CAR T-cell therapy, a breakthrough treatment for refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Comer Children's was the first hospital in Chicago to be certified to offer CAR T-cell gene therapy. 

Because of our extensive experience and expertise we receive referrals from across the nation and the world. Please feel free to contact us if you wish to hear about our most recent research protocols.

Care for a Lifetime

Children facing cancer often have ongoing medical, emotional, social and developmental needs. Our doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals recognize these issues and provide resources and tools to help patients and families cope and stay informed.

Although most leukemia patients are cured, some may face other complex health problems as they grow older. The University of Chicago Childhood Cancer Survivors Center is an integrated program aimed at the prevention and treatment of long-term health issues associated with cancer therapy.