Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (referred to as “ALL”) is the most frequent type of blood cancer found in children and teenagers. The disease originates in the bone marrow, where normal blood formation is disrupted by an uncontrolled proliferation of immature blood cells. These immature cells, called leukemia cells, supress the healthy blood cells preventing them from performing their vital functions. Without therapy, ALL leads to severe disease and organ dysfunction with a fatal outcome.

The majority of ALL patients can be successfully handled with the current standard treatment. However, in 15-20%, despite successful initial treatment, the leukemia comes back, worsening the prognosis and requiring further therapy. There are various types of relapses, which differ in prognosis. High-risk patients are children and teenagers who have a particularly aggressive relapse with a very poor prognosis. This is where the international “IntReALL” HR 2010 study comes in.

The main goal of this study is to optimize treatment in such a way as to increase the chances of recovery for the children affected and to reduce therapy-related late side effects. This should be achieved with different approaches, such as adjusting medication doses; use of new medications, which are adjusted to meet individual risk; and additional therapy or modifications of therapy periods.

The Swiss Pediatric Oncology Group, SPOG, Bern, is responsible for conducting the study in Switzerland.

The study has a duration of 2 years (2019-2020).