UI Hospitals and Clinics

Leukemia Program

You expect more from us. In fact, you’re counting on it. And we’re delivering for you.

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, as well as 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.

Services That Set Us Apart

  • Experts focused only on leukemia. Our team of specialists focuses not just on leukemia, but on your leukemia. Because our leukemia specialists concentrate only on leukemia, they understand the disease, know about the most recent treatment options from chemotherapy to radiation therapy to bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.
  • 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. That combined with our expertise allows us to offer you what will work best for your 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 to pinpoint your type of leukemia and identify the right treatment for you.
  • Innovative clinical trials. We not only offer access to the most recent treatment methods and therapies but our physicians are also leukemia researchers, placing them right in the heart of the latest breakthroughs in 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). What that means for you is that we are recognized among the leading cancer centers in the United States; 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.

To be considered a “comprehensive” center means 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.

That means our team of experts will design a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs – we don’t believe in “one size fits all.”

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 out-patient 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 wider public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

For example, one of our studies involves patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Researchers are trying to better understand the causes of leukemia and to 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.

Facts About Leukemia

  • 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, according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • Acute leukemia occurs when the bone marrow cells don’t mature properly. Chronic leukemia occurs when the cells mature, but not completely.
  • There are four types of leukemia, each named for the blood cell that becomes cancerous. The four types are:
    • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
    • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
    • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
    • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)

Patient Stories


Noah was a typical college student... until he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Follow Noah's story as he moved through treatment to recovery  

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

We bring experts from different fields of medicine to work together as a team called a multidisciplinary oncology group. Because many leukemia patients require more than one form of treatment, 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. Our team of specialists focuses not just on leukemia, but on your leukemia.

Adult Leukemia (Hematology/Oncology)

Pediatric Leukemia



ARNP and Physicians Assistant


  • Kalyan Nadiminti, MD
  • Uzair Saqlain, MD


  • Gwen Kirsch
  • Lindsay Ludwig
  • Susan Sorenson

Care coordinator

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

Clinical Trial staff

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