The new treatments, developed at the Sheba Medical Centre's Research Centre for Leukemia and Childhood Malignancies, have the potential to impact over 20 per cent of those suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
The team, led by Dr. Shai Izraeli, has published a series of papers examining certain gene abnormalities in children with Down syndrome, which are 20-30 times more likely to develop ALL.
"Our research gives hope to a substantial portion of the children who might be taken by this horrible disease," said Izraeli.
Currently, children with leukemia receive intensive chemotherapy over two to three years, and about eight out of 10 recover. But chemotherapy is highly toxic, and does not target the specific abnormality underlying the disease.
The new treatments associated with this research are likely to be more precise and less toxic than chemotherapy.
Dr. Izraeli and his team are confident that more powerful and safer leukemia drugs for children will be developed soon.