Know your options for adult ALL treatmentsSome of the treatments that patients of adult ALL- acute lymphoblastic leukemia can try include the standard treatments which are currently in use as well as others being tested by researchers in clinical trials. When it comes to a clinical trial treatment, this is essentially a research study designed for improving the available treatments or providing more info on new cancer treatments. If a clinical trial proves that the new treatment is much better compared to the standard treatment, it is elevated to the status of standard treatment. In some cases, patients who are not yet started on any treatment are the ones eligible for clinical trials.

Two phases for adult ALL treatment

There are two phases involved as far as adult ALL treatment is concerned:

  • Remission induction therapy: as the first phase, the goal of this treatment is killing the leukemia cells found in the bone marrow and the blood. Leukemia is put in a state of remission through this treatment.
  • Post remission therapy: the second phase of ALL treatment begins after the cancer is in remission. Here, all the remaining leukemia cells are killed. They might be active as such but after some time, they may start re-growing and probably result in a relapse. The phase is known as remission continuation therapy.

Central nervous system sanctuary therapy is a treatment offered after every phase of therapy. Since the standard dosage of chemotherapy might not be able to reach the leukemia cells found in the CNS, i.e. the spinal cord and the brain, the cells tend to find a sanctuary here where they hide. In this regard, high doses of some anticancer drugs, radiation therapy and intrathecal chemotherapy to the brain aim at ensuring that the leukemia cells hide in CNS are reached at. Besides killing the leukemia cells, they also ensure that the cancer doesn’t come back. The alternative name of CNS sanctuary therapy is CNS prophylaxis.

Standard treatment of leukemia- four types

The standard treatment of leukemia involves the use of four different types of treatments. These are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy with the stem cell transplant and finally, targeted therapy. Any of these treatments or a combination of the treatments will be used to treat ALL cancer depending on the type of leukemia in question.


New treatments in clinical trials

There are a couple of treatments that researchers are still studying at clinical trials in various parts of the world. NCI Website has a comprehensive list of these treatments which include biologic therapy as the main treatment in trial.

For some patients, the best choice of treatment is participating in clinical trials. These clinical trials are usually a part of cancer research process aimed at finding better treatments than the standard treatments already available. The clinical trials aim at finding out if the new treatments are effective and safe or better alternatives to the standard treatment.