Leukemia and Lymphoma
Treatments and Services

Innovative Leukemia and Lymphoma Therapies from an Expert Team

Your child will receive top care from a dedicated team that includes an oncologist (cancer doctor), nurse practitioner, nurse care manager and social worker.

Depending on your child's needs, the team will expand to include other specialists, such as a bone marrow transplant specialist, dietitian, psychologist, pain specialist, radiation oncology specialist and many others who specialize in caring for children with cancer.

Our care team creates a personalized treatment plan for each patient. The plan may include chemotherapy, novel immune therapies, radiation therapy, surgery to remove some or all of the tumor(s), and blood or marrow transplantation. Patients have access to both national clinical research studies as well as research studies only available at Cincinnati Children’s.


Chemotherapy uses one or more anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells or slow down their growth. The care team customizes the chemotherapy regimen based on each patient’s diagnosis and needs. Sometimes, experimental chemotherapy offers the most promise for a cure. In these cases, we partner with national research organizations and drug companies to bring these therapies to our patients.

Bone Marrow Transplantation

Our Bone Marrow Transplantation Program team has performed more than 2,300 bone marrow transplants, making us one of the most experienced pediatric transplant programs in the world. We are an international leader in the development of new transplant regimens for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and myelodysplasia.

Our bone marrow transplantation team specializes in innovative approaches to transplant therapy. The team:

  • Has developed transplant procedures that are now the standard of care in 240+ cancer centers throughout North America
  • Has performed transplants on more than 100 children a year, with a 96% survival rate—significantly higher than the national average
  • Has extensive experience in performing complex stem cell transplants from unrelated donors
  • Utilizes reduced-intensity preparative regimens, which offer lower doses of chemotherapy with the potential for fewer side effects
  • Pioneered new applications for bone marrow transplant, such as transplant for autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome

CAR-T and Novel Immunotherapies

Immunotherapy is designed to help the body’s own immune system fight cancer cells. Cincinnati Children’s was one of the first pediatric hospitals to provide CAR T-cell therapy, an exciting new immunotherapy for patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This groundbreaking therapy offers hope to patients with ALL who have a treatment-resistant form of the disease, and those who have relapsed after bone marrow transplant. Learn more about CAR T-cell therapy.

Targeted Antibody Therapies

Targeted antibody therapies are drugs that bind to proteins found on the surface of cancer cells. Different targeted antibody therapies use different methods to attack the cancer cell.  Some of the targeted antibody therapies we offer include:

  • Antibody-drug conjugates: These targeted therapies have an antibody bound to a chemotherapy drug.  The antibody binds to the cancer cell surface causing the chemotherapy drug to be taken inside the cancer cell.  This damages the cell and causes cell death.  These therapies have fewer side effects than typical chemotherapy because they are targeted to the cancer cell.  Examples include inotuzumab ozogamicin for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed high-risk or relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and brentuximab vedotin for patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Monoclonal antibodies: These antibodies bind to the cancer cell and direct the immune system response to recognize and destroy the cancer cells.  Examples include daratumumab for the treatment of relapsed T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), rituximab or obinutuzumab for the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and pembrolizumab or nivolumab for the treatment of various tumors including Hodgkin lymphoma and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma.
  • Bi-directional antibodies: These antibodies bind to the cancer cell and to normal T cells at the same time and direct the T cells, a critical component of the immune system, to recognize and destroy the cancer cells.  An examples includes blinatumomab, a CD19-CD3 bi-directional antibody for the treatment of B-ALL.  Blinatumomab is currently being investigated in a clinical trial with another targeted antibody, nivolumab, to try to improve the effectiveness of blinatumomab.

Precision Radiation Therapy

Our leading-edge radiation therapies deliver high doses of radiation while sparing healthy tissue. They include:

  • Proton therapy, which is one of the most precise and advanced forms of radiation therapy available in the world today. In the hands of the expert cancer team at Cincinnati Children’s, specialized pencil beam technology destroys cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. Our Proton Therapy Center is one of a few centers in the world owned by a children’s hospital.
  • Shaped-beam stereotactic radiation therapy delivers high doses of radiation using custom-shaped beams.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy allows physicians to modulate the intensity of radiation beams and deliver radiation that conforms to the tumor’s shape.