The internationally recognized specialists and subspecialists at the OSUCCC – James believe the best way to treat patients and manage their disease successfully is to be at the forefront of delivering the latest, most effective treatments available and by working with nationally and internationally renowned experts to develop the newest and best acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treatments and programs.

Because these renowned subspecialists understand that ALL is a complex disease, they use the most effective means of treating patients through an expert team approach from across multiple medical disciplines. These teams also run groundbreaking studies, and through detailed observations, evaluate the latest treatments and targeted therapies.

The OSUCCC – James team of experts – who are central Ohio’s only referral center for treating acute leukemia – analyzes the genetic composition of each individual’s leukemia to determine the best possible treatment, offering improved outcomes, faster responses and fewer side effects.

Treatment Options

The OSUCCC – James is a leader in offering some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated treatments for leukemia patients. 

The OSUCCC – James experts determine treatment based not only on your age and overall health but also on your individual, specific blood cell classification. They may recommend that your treatment be completed in phases. These include:

Remission Induction

The first treatment phase is designed to destroy leukemia cells (called blasts) and put the cancer into remission. This treatment usually begins with chemotherapy.

After the patient is in remission, a second phase of therapy begins.

Post-Remission Therapy or Remission Continuation Therapy

This second phase is designed to kill any leukemia cells that could be remaining after remission induction and to help prevent a relapse.

ALL patients may also have a treatment called intrathecal chemotherapy (chemotherapy given directly into the spinal fluid) during both treatment phases. Because chemotherapy may not reach leukemia cells in the brain and spinal cord, the cells may hide in the central nervous system (CNS).

High doses of certain anticancer drugs – along with intrathecal chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the brain – can reach leukemia cells in the CNS. The drugs destroy the leukemia cells and help keep the cancer from coming back.

Patients might also have radiation therapy (which uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells) or a stem cell transplant. A stem cell transplant replaces abnormal blood-forming cells or cells that are killed during chemotherapy. The OSUCCC – James is the only central Ohio hospital to offer stem cell transplantation.


Chemotherapy destroys the leukemia cells or stops them from dividing. Chemotherapy drugs can be taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle. When the drugs enter the bloodstream, they can reach cancer cells throughout the body (called systemic chemotherapy).

When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebro-spinal fluid (intrathecal chemotherapy), the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in the brain and spinal cord. This is called regional chemotherapy.

Intrathecal chemotherapy may be used to treat adult ALL that has spread to the brain and spinal cord.

Combination chemotherapy uses more than one anticancer drug.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells or keep them from growing. As part of CNS intrathecal chemotherapy, external radiation therapy may be used to treat adult ALL that has spread to the brain and spinal cord.

Chemotherapy With Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cell transplants enable patients to receive chemotherapy treatment and then replace blood-forming cells that have been destroyed by cancer treatment.

Stem cells, which are immature blood cells, are removed from the blood or bone marrow of either the patient or a donor, and then they are frozen and stored. After chemotherapy is completed, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to the patient through an infusion. These reinfused stem cells grow into and restore the body's blood cells.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapies are drugs that attack cancer cells without destroying healthy surrounding cells. These therapies are called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and they’re used to treat certain kinds of adult ALL.

Leukemia Biomarker Testing

The drugs work by blocking the enzyme (called tyrosine kinase) that causes stem cells to develop into more white blood cells (leukemia cells or blasts) than the body needs.

(Source: National Cancer Institute

Tumor Sequencing and Genomic Analysis

The OSUCCC – James specialists and subspecialists use genomic sequencing to analyze your bone marrow cells to determine exactly how to treat your specific disease. This test evaluates the DNA, or genetic material, in your cancer cells. By detecting changes (or mutations) in the cells, the experts can not only determine how to design the best personalized treatment plan to specifically target those changes, but they can also predict how well your body will respond to particular therapies.


Immunotherapy, also sometimes called biologic therapy, boosts an ALL patient's immune system to help fight cancer. Substances made by the body or in a laboratory are used to direct or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Research and Clinical Trials

For leukemia patients, clinical trials mean hope.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more of this nation’s leading-edge, targeted treatments and drugs than at most hospitals in America.  

Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their individual treatments.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials only go to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

If you’ve been diagnosed with leukemia, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a leukemia specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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