Pediatric oncology - Background

Today almost 80% of all children with cancer are cured. This is a result of both international clinical studies on cancer therapy, in which treatments are carefully evaluated, and laboratory studies resulting in novel therapies. Similarly, the outcome in many non-malignant hematological disorders have improved markedly.

A child with cancer is sitting on a hospital bed

Pediatric oncology works actively in both clinical and laboratory studies with the aim to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcome. In addition, we also perform care and psychosocial research with the aim to improve the care of affected children and their families.

The most common cancer forms are leukemias and brain tumors, which comprise one third of all cancers each, while one third suffers from other forms of tumors.

The treatment used for childhood cancer has improved successfully, and currently almost 80% of all affected children are cured. Nevertheless, childhood cancer is still the most common cause of death in children between 1 and 14 years of age, followed in frequency by deaths caused by accidents.

An important basis for Swedish research on pediatric leukemia was laid in 1978, when the Swedish Pediatric Leukemia Register was started, a valuable bank of information, which was further developed into the Swedish Pediatric Cancer Register (located at pediatric oncology).

In 1996, the Childhood Cancer Research Unit (now pediatric oncology) was initiated at Karolinska University Hospital. In 2018, the laboratory research moved to the newly built BioClinicum. Much of the research is done in collaboration with professionals at the pediatric oncology and other units at the Karolinska University Hospital and other researchers at Karolinska Institutet, as well as with researchers from other parts of Sweden and abroad.