Improvements in the chemotherapeutic and transplant regimens have had a significant impact in improving survival rates for pediatric leukemia. However, there are still major problems to address including what options are available for patients with chemoresistant disease and what strategies are available to avoid toxicity associated with highly cytotoxic treatment regimens. Gene and immunotherapy protocols hold great promise. Using gene transfer of a marker gene, a number of biologic issues in the therapy of leukemia have been addressed. For example, by gene marking autologous bone marrow grafts it has been possible to demonstrate that infused marrow contributes to relapse in acute and chronic myeloid leukemias. In the allogeneic transplant setting, genetically modified T-cells have proven valuable for the prophylaxis and treatment of viral diseases and may have an important role in preventing or treating disease relapse. Gene transfer is also being used to modify tumor function, enhance immunogenicity, and confer drug-resistance to normal hematopoietic stem cells. With the continued scientific advancements in this field, gene therapy will almost certainly have a major impact on the treatment of pediatric leukemia in the future.
- Gene therapy
- Immunotherapy, adoptive
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health