Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. It is also called acute myelogenous leukemia or acute myelocytic leukemia. It happens when some of your blood stem cells stop working normally. They start making immature myeloid cells, also called blasts, that turn into cancer.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center provides all standard therapies for AML. Our experts are national leaders in AML research and have developed many of these approaches.
Many of our AML patients join clinical trials — led by world-class physicians from Fred Hutch and UW Medicine — to be able to try the newest therapies that are not available anywhere else.
Care for AML is very complex. More than two dozen medicines are already approved to treat this disease, and many new options are being developed. Getting the medicines that are right for you means everything. This is why it is important to come to a center, like Fred Hutch, that has deep experience in this disease. Our long history of caring for people with AML means the best care for you.
If you have been diagnosed with AML, Fred Hutch is here for you. Your first appointment at the South Lake Union Clinic may happen either before or after you go to the hospital for your initial chemotherapy.
From the first time you come to see us, your clinic team will begin getting to know you and your family. What are your questions? What are your concerns?
We will also explain your specific disease and your treatment options. Before you leave, your team makes sure you understand the next steps.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one type of cancer of the bone marrow and blood.
In people with AML, something goes wrong and the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells called myeloblasts — hindering the production of normal cells including infection-fighting white blood cells, oxygen-carrying red blood cells and clot-producing platelets.
You are unique, and your care team will design a treatment plan specifically for — and with — you. At Fred Hutch, physicians with knowledge and experience in AML will plan and provide your care.
The first phase of treatment is meant to put the disease in remission. The next phase is to clear any AML cells that remain. Usually, the main form of treatment is chemotherapy. Some people also get targeted therapy or immunotherapy. Others have a blood or marrow transplant. We combine treatments to fit your exact case.
At Fred Hutch, we surround you with experts who focus completely on cancer. A handful of people make up the core of your care team. You will have a hematologist-oncologist and a registered nurse who specialize in AML. At some visits, you might see an advanced practice provider. Most patients get part of their treatment from infusion nurses. A patient care coordinator will schedule your visits.
Others join your team based on your personal needs.
The safest, most effective and most widely accepted therapies for cancer are known as the “standard of care.” For many patients, these therapies will be a large part of their treatment. At Fred Hutch, we provide all standard therapies for AML. We know how to choose the right ones for you and how to deliver them to give you the best chance at a full recovery.
Our physicians and researchers are always asking how we can make AML treatments more effective and reduce side effects as much as possible. This is why we do clinical trials (also called clinical studies). Through these studies, we are able to offer you therapies that aren’t available everywhere. A therapy that is going through trials today may become the new standard of care tomorrow.
Along with treating your cancer, a group of world-class professionals is here to support you. This team includes advanced practice providers, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians, physical therapists, social workers and psychologists. We also include supportive care services for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
If you might be at higher risk for blood cancer because of your genes, we have a special clinic for you. The Hematologic Malignancy Genetics Clinic is here to assess your risk. We also provide care to help lower your risk going forward. Fred Hutch is one of only a few cancer centers in the nation with a clinic like this.
When someone close to you is diagnosed with AML, you might step into the role of caregiver. Being a caregiver can mean many things, from lending a hand with daily living tasks to helping with medical decisions. It can also mean dealing with your own emotions and stress.
At Fred Hutch, caregivers are valuable members of a patient’s care team. We see every day that your presence and support make a difference. We know that what your friend or family member is going through affects you, too.
Part of our mission is to help you take care of yourself. Caring for yourself is good for your physical, mental and emotional health. It also helps you give your best to your loved one. Our social workers, Spiritual Health team and Patient and Family Resource Center staff are here to help support you.
Physicians and scientists from Fred Hutch and UW Medicine are testing new treatments for AML and discovering new ways to use current AML treatments.
Through this work, we are looking for answers to two main questions: How can we do even better at controlling or curing AML? How can we make treatments less toxic and easier on patients?
One or more of our studies may be an option for you. Our AML clinical trials are testing dozens of therapies, including:
When your care team designs your treatment plan, they will give you the choice to join clinical trials that match your situation. If you decide to join one, you will see the same physicians and nurses as you would for standard therapy.
Your care team will talk with you about if you might want to join a particular study and why. This can help you make the decision that is best for you.