Leukemia Program

  • There are four types of leukemia, each named for the blood cell that becomes cancerous.
    • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
    • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
    • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
    • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)  
  • Acute leukemia occurs when the bone marrow cells don’t mature properly
  • Chronic leukemia occurs when the cells mature, but not completely
  • According to the National Cancer Institute
    • Leukemia represents 3 percent of all new cancer diagnoses in the United States each year, or about 54,270.
    • Approximately 1.5 percent of the men and women in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia at some point in their life.


At University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, our highly experienced physicians and staff are dedicated to taking care of you, not just your cancer. As part of a nationally recognized cancer center, our team focuses on every aspect of leukemia. Our clinicians are also top researchers finding new and innovative treatments and therapies while identifying genetic links that may pinpoint risk. We are on the leading edge of leukemia research, always searching for ways to make the best cancer treatment even better.

Why Choose Holden for Your Care?

Patients of Holden Cancer Center benefit from a team-based approach that puts each patient at the center. At Holden, experts in specific cancer types—including a genetic counselor certified and specializing in cancer genetic counseling—is part of this team.

Holden patients also benefit from medical advances that take into account an individual’s tumor, genes, environment, and lifestyle to diagnose and treat their specific types of cancer. Known as personalized, or precision medicine, this highly specialized approach is part of Holden’s commitment to providing life-changing medical treatments and care.

Services That Set Us Apart

  • Experts focused only on leukemia: Our team of specialists focuses not just on leukemia, but on your leukemia. They understand the disease and know about the most recent treatment options from chemotherapy to radiation therapy to bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.
  • Innovative clinical trials: Not only do we offer access to the most recent treatment methods and therapies, our physicians are also leukemia researchers, placing them right in the heart of the latest breakthroughs in leukemia.
  • Iowa's only comprehensive bone marrow transplant program: Holden has the state's only comprehenisve bone marrow transplant program with both autologous (stem cells from you) and allogenic (stem cells from other people) bone marrow transplants.
  • Molecular mutation profiles: Our pathology test help us pinpoint your type of leukemia and identify the right treatment for you.
  • Multiple treatment options: Many leukemia patients need multiple types of treatments over the course of their treatment. We offer a full-range of services in one program to allow us to offer you the best treatment for your leukemia.
  • New infusion suite designed with patients in mind. Our infusion suite was designed with patient input to create a comfortable, welcoming environment. Take our virtual tour.

Cancer Care With You in Mind

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa to hold the prestigious designation of being a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are rated in the top 4 percent of the approximately 1,500 cancer centers in the United States. A recent study published in the journal Cancer showed that patients treated at NCI-designated cancer centers have better survival outcomes than patients treated at non-NCI designated cancer centers.

As a “comprehensive” center, our teams have expertise in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research. Our doctors and staff are on top of the newest developments in cancer research, treatment, and diagnosis. We don’t believe in “one size fits all.” Our team of experts will design a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

Our multidisciplinary team is ready to offer all of the services you need for your leukemia care. We know no one wants to stay in the hospital longer than necessary, so we work especially hard to make sure your treatment options are done on an outpatient basis, allowing you to rest in the comfort of your own home.

The Power of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials is where research meets patient care. A great deal of research is done behind the scenes in laboratories, long before clinical trials can even begin. Clinical trials are research studies that test out the latest treatments and drugs that are not yet available to the public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

One of our studies involves patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Researchers are trying to better understand the causes of leukemia and develop improved methods to diagnose and treat the disease. Previous research indicates ALL may be divided into groups based on the chromosomes of leukemia cells. This study is investigating if an individual's response to treatment is related to the particular ALL type.

See a full list and learn more about clinical trials at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Support Our Mission

Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in the effort to control and ultimately cure cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

    Patient Stories


    Carol's leukemia returned when she was 26 weeks pregnant.

    Learn how Carol went from pregnant with leukemia to a proud mother and cancer survivor

    Leukemia Care Team

    Our team of specialists focuses not just on leukemia, but on your leukemia. We bring experts from different fields of medicine to work together in a multidisciplinary oncology group. Our team meets regularly to discuss the best course of treatment and works together to design the best personalized plan for every patient. The team includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, social workers, pathologists, pediatric oncologists, pharmacists, nurses, and laboratory-based scientists.


    • Kalyan Nadiminti, MD
    • Uzair Saqlain, MD

    Care Coordinator

    • Jennifer Adams, Social Work
    • Amanda Herbst, RN
    • Jan Stewart, RN

    Clinical Trial Staff

    • Marian Anderson
    • Janan Geick-Miller
    • Clarine Halveson
    • Karen Parott
    • Victoria Scaccia
    • Jill Wegmann