Treatments for Leukemia and Lymphoma

When you have leukemia or lymphoma, turn to the experts at Henry Ford for a full range of treatments customized to your specific needs.

What are my options for leukemia and lymphoma treatment?

After diagnosis, you receive a personalized treatment plan based on the type and stage of cancer, your medical history and your preferences. A multidisciplinary tumor board discusses your care to recommend the most effective approach. Our doctors may recommend one or more of these options:

Blood transfusion

You may need a blood transfusion if cancer is causing your bone marrow to make fewer blood cells than your body needs. We use cells from healthy donors to replace red cells, platelets and other blood components.

Stem cell (bone marrow) transplantation

Marrow is the spongy tissue inside bones that produces blood cells. Transplantation infuses healthy stem cells taken from your blood or bone marrow into your body in place of damaged bone marrow. Stem cell transplantation is a treatment option when leukemia or lymphoma returns or is at high risk for returning.

Henry Ford is one of only a handful of centers in Michigan to offer all types of stem cell transplantation:

  • Allogeneic transplantation: You receive stem cells from a donor or umbilical cord blood.
  • Autologous transplantation: You receive your own stem cells. They typically come from your blood, but they can also be taken from your bone marrow.
  • Haploidentical: In this newer type of allogeneic stem cell transplant, you receive healthy, blood-forming cells from a “half-matched” donor. This may include a parent or child.
  • Syngeneic: You receive stem cells donated from your identical twin or triplet.


Chemotherapy uses powerful medications to destroy cancer cells. It targets specific parts of the cancer cell growth cycle to prevent cells from growing or multiplying.

Certain enzymes (proteins) in your body can interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy or worsen the side effects. Before you start chemotherapy, we sometimes check for enzyme disorders and defects that may affect your treatment. Learn more about chemotherapy.


Immunotherapy is a type of targeted, precision medicine. It trains your immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells while sparing normal cell function as much as possible. It’s also called biologic therapy.

We offer several types of immunotherapy, including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, which uses engineered cells from your immune system to destroy cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy.


Along with chemotherapy, other drugs can help your body fight cancer. For example, your doctor may prescribe drugs that target specific enzymes (proteins) involved in cancer growth. You may also take drugs as “maintenance therapy” to prevent cancer from returning after treatment, or if you’re not eligible for a transplant.

Our medical oncologists recommend a treatment regimen that targets your specific needs and causes as few side effects as possible.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses targeted radioactive energy to destroy tumors. You receive safe, effective doses of radiation to fight cancer. Learn more about radiation therapy.

New therapies

Henry Ford participates in clinical and translational research to bring you the latest treatments. Through research, our patients have accessed new therapies for lymphoma treatment, including:

  • Monoclonal antibodies: These lab-created molecules attach to specific defects in cancer cells, helping kill cancer without the side effects of chemotherapy. Our clinical trials were key in gaining FDA approval for a monoclonal antibody to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We’re continuing our research in this area.
  • Combination chemotherapy and growth factors: Lymphoma patients who are not candidates for monoclonal antibodies may be eligible for other clinical trial therapies. These include combination chemotherapy and new growth factors (substances that help regulate cell growth and division).

What to expect from blood cancer treatment

We’re here to help you every step of the way—from diagnosis to remission. Learn what to expect from blood cancer treatment.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


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