ANCHOR LEAD: KIDS WITH ONE FORM OF LEUKEMIA MAY NOW BE ABLE TO AVOID RADIATION TREATMENT, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
The treatment of many childhood leukemias is largely a success story, with many kids deemed cured. Now a study in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that radiation of the spine and head can be safely forgone in children with one type of leukemia. Bill Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says that’s because the chemotherapy has gotten so much better.
NELSON: It’s an attempt to avoid craniospinal irradiation, that’s radiating the central nervous system the spinal cord areas in an attempt to mop up any leukemia that was swimming around in the spinal fluid that the rest of the chemotherapy didn’t get to, and what the study shows is that as the chemotherapy has been refined and improved that there may not be this need to mop up as the chemotherapy has killed these cancer cells already, and thus any of these long term side effects, and they are a little bit of cognitive impairment, a little bit of damage to some endocrine organs can be perhaps avoided. :30
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.