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Promise and Progress - Faces of Childhood Cancer

Faces of Childhood Cancer

Faces of Childhood Cancer

Date: June 1, 2004

There can be no crueler form of cancer than that which strikes children. Carefree days that should be spent in the playground are instead spent in the hospital. Tests, doctors’ visits and needles have become far too ordinary in these children’s lives. For them, our pediatric oncology clinicians and researchers work their hardest because they know when they cure a child, they not only save a life but a future of dreams, possibilities and accomplishments.

Cancer strikes more than 12,000 children each year. While pediatric cancers are rare, they take the lives of more children than any other disease. But, there is good news. Through research like that being done at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the Kimmel Cancer Center, death rates have declined by more than 70 percent since 1970. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), one of the most common types of pediatric cancers, is cured more than 80 percent of the time due, in part, to refinements in therapy developed by a Kimmel Cancer Center researcher. Innovative therapies, such as stem cell transplants, have resulted in cures in the sickest of patients. There is much to be hopeful about.

Still, our investigators and clinicians continue their work to develop safer and more targeted treatments and to develop new treatments for those patients who have not been cured.  

In the pages ahead you will read of three young patients who have had a tough fight. But, with steadfast determination and the ingenuity and collaboration of a dedicated team of Hopkins pediatric cancer specialists, they have stood toe to toe with the most difficult of cancers.