Research Horizons


Cincinnati Children’s Launches Advanced Leukemia Therapies and Research Center 

Center will fuel scientific discovery to develop new cures for blood cancers 

Cincinnati Children’s, the top ranked pediatric hospital and top ranked cancer program in the country by U.S. News & World Report, continues to break new ground with the launch of the first-of-its-kind Advanced Leukemia Therapies and Research Center.

The center will integrate the expertise of the world-class research and clinical programs at Cincinnati Children’s and increase patient access to cutting-edge clinical trials.   

“We want to improve the outcomes of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients by spearheading innovative and transformative research that will bring new treatment options to blood cancer patients of any age,” says Daniel Starczynowski, PhD, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Advanced Leukemia Therapies and Research Center, associate director of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, and associate director for basic science research at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center. “The center will eliminate barriers and initiate new laboratory research and treatment approaches informed by our AML patients.”

Cincinnati Children’s committed a significant investment, along with several new research positions, to keep advanced research the priority of this program.  

Recent scientific discoveries from the Starczynowski Lab have inspired the design of clinical trials for adults with specific types of leukemia. Cincinnati Children’s formed the Advanced Leukemia Therapies and Research Center to accelerate more scientific discoveries like this to bring more curative options to AML patients. 

The center builds on a foundation of ongoing, groundbreaking research. For example, Cincinnati Children’s researchers were the first to use the new nanoparticle drug, Vyxeos, for children with AML, which directly led to a pediatric FDA approval of that drug. Now researchers are testing a novel cellular therapy for adults with treatment-resistant AML, which uses cytokine-induced memory-like natural killer cells. In studies, these cells have exhibited a response against AML.  

In addition to collaborating with the clinical cancer team, center researchers also will collaborate closely with several divisions at Cincinnati Children’s, the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center and UC Health.   

“This bench-to-bedside approach personalizes treatment for our AML patients,” says John Perentesis, MD, executive co-director of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute and director of the Division of Oncology. “Cincinnati Children’s is in the vanguard for new AML therapies, and we are thrilled to see the intersection of research and treatment come to life.”  

The addition of the Advanced Leukemia Therapies and Research Center further confirms Cincinnati Children’s as a global leader in cancer care, research and education.  It also supports the Research Foundation’s priority to pursue high-potential opportunities where the institution is uniquely positioned to advance science for positive health impact.  

“Translating cancer research into improved health outcomes for our patients has been a strength of our institution for quite some time,” says Tina Cheng, MD, MPH, chair of Pediatrics, Research Foundation director, and chief medical officer at Cincinnati Children’s. “The Advanced Leukemia Therapies and Research Center and the progress we are making there sets Cincinnati Children’s apart from other pediatric academic research centers.”