Leukemia Research and Clinical Trials

City of Hope's Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research is a recognized leader in studying and improving treatments against leukemia.

Current leukemia research projects include:
  • Investigating "leukemia stem cells" that allow the disease to relapse and grow following cancer treatment. By better understanding the biology of these cancer stem cells, scientists and clinicians hope to develop more effective therapies that produce lasting cures.
  • City of Hope researchers are studying specially designed proteins called monoclonal antibodies, which can bombard leukemia cells with lethal doses of therapy while leaving healthy tissues untouched.
  • Immune system cells called T cells guard against disease; they can detect invader such as bacteria and viruses and destroy them. City of Hope scientists are currently investigating to see how these cells can be reprogrammed to recognize and attack leukemia as well.
  • While stem cell transplants can be a lifesaving procedure for patients with leukemia and other blood disorders, it also carries a risk of graft versus host disease (GvHD), in which the newly transplanted stem cells do not recognize the recipient’s body as their own and start producing an immune response against it, leading to chronic and potentially serious complications. To reduce the likelihood of GvHD and to improve transplant outcomes, City of Hope is researching new ways to classify and match stem cell donors and recipients.
  • The Division of Stem Cell and Leukemia Research is currently investigating leukemia stem cells, which several studies have suggested to cause leukemia. By identifying and eradicating these cancerous stem cells — instead of just the mature leukemia cells that conventional therapies target — a definitive cure for this disease can be achieved. (Learn more about leukemia stem cells.)
Leukemia Clinical Trials
With our extensive program of leukemia clinical trials, City of Hope can provide our patients access to novel therapies, including many that are not available elsewhere.

Our Developmental Therapeutics Program has an active portfolio of trials for patients with recurrent leukemia, including trials of new chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs. We are also actively involved in survivorship research.