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Curing a Common Childhood Cancer

​​​​​​​​​​Problem

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is the most common child- hood cancer. In the United States alone, about 2,900 children and adolescents are diagnosed with ALL each year. In 1975, a diagnosis of ALL often meant death in the near future. Only 60% of children under 15 years of age survived 5 years, and only 28% of 15-19 year olds survived 5 years.

Discovery

Cancer research has led to the creation of various medications and treatments that destroy cancer cells.

Research into various combinations of medica- tions to treat ALL has yielded the now standard protocol of induction chemotherapy, which con- sists of vincristine, L-asparaginase, and cortico- steroid for a 2-3 year period.

Outcome

Because of the last 40 years of research, 90% of newly diagnosed ALL pediatric patients are expected to have greater than 5 year survival.