Pediatric Cancer

We fight childhood cancer every day.

If your child’s cancer therapy did not work or the disease has come back, we want to help.

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Pediatric cancer clinical trials at UW Health's American Family Children’s Hospital.

Our children’s hospital is one of a handful of centers across the nation with new immunotherapy clinical trials for children whose cancer has relapsed. (Immunotherapy is a new form of treatment that uses the body’s immune system to attack cancer.)

Some of these trials are only available at our hospital. For others, we are one of a very limited number of hospitals offering such a trial. We cannot promise that your child will qualify for one of these trials, but we encourage you to contact us.

For more than 40 years, the UW Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Program has played a leading role in the fight against childhood cancer.

Why choose American Family Children's Hospital

  • We are a pioneer among children’s hospitals that have played a leading role in developing new cancer treatments for kids.
  • We are one of only eight worldwide "Pediatric Cancer Dream Team” centers, as chosen by the American Association of Cancer Research, Stand Up to Cancer, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
  • Our Research Director – Paul Sondel, MD, Ph.D. – was chosen by the National Cancer Institute as the only pediatric oncologist among 50 nationwide cancer researchers to receive a multimillion dollar “Outstanding Investigator Award.”
  • We are part of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, as designated by the National Cancer Institute.
  • American Family Children’s Hospital ranks among the top 20 percent of U.S. children's hospitals for pediatric cancer care, according to U.S. News & World Report.
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that seeks to kill cancer cells by making use of the body’s natural defense system. Unlike chemotherapy or radiation, immunotherapy has fewer side effects because it does not impact healthy cells. While many cancers become resistant to chemotherapy, they still can be susceptible to immunotherapy. We know the immune system has the potential to recognize and kill cancer cells; it just might need a little boost. Cancer immunotherapies are one of the most promising areas of research right now. Every cancer is unique and complex, and every person's immune system responds a little differently. While we have come a long way in understanding the immune system and how to use it to tackle cancer, there is still much to be learned. At the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and American Family Children's Hospital, there are several active laboratories and clinical research projects happening right now (yes, even as you read this, someone is doing research!).

What are the different types of immunotherapy?
There are a few different types of immunotherapy, and in many cases, they are combined to become even more effective. These include cancer vaccines, adoptive T-cell therapies, adoptive NK cell therapies, antibody therapies, and therapies that bolster the function of the immune system.

What will our stay at the American Family Children's Hospital be like?
Located on the University of Wisconsin campus, American Family Children’s Hospital offers patients and families a modern, world-class facility in a warm and friendly setting. Our highly trained and knowledgeable doctors, nurses, therapists, and Child Life specialists are here to make each child’s stay as soothing as possible – all while involving family members in the plan for each child’s care. Just a few hours from Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Chicago, Madison offers families an attractive community without the stresses of a larger metropolitan area.

What types of cancer are being treated with clinical trials at your hospital?
Our leading-edge immunotherapy clinical trials are open to children with certain kinds of leukemia or solid tumor cancers that have come back after the first round of standard treatment. We encourage you to contact us so we can help determine if your child might be a candidate for one of these clinical trials.

Call (608) 890-8070 or Have us contact you

to get your child the treatment they need.

  Learn more about our innovative clinical trials.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and American Family Children’s Hospital offer several innovative clinical trials for children whose cancer has recurred or failed standard treatment.


  About American Family Children's Hospital

At the American Family Children’s Hospital, we are here to help provide options, hope, and a family-oriented place for your child to heal.

American Family Children’s Hospital is a comprehensive pediatric medical and surgical center featuring nationally recognized pediatric specialists in a wide range of fields, including faculty from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health. Named for a generous gift from American Family Insurance and located in Madison, Wisconsin, the state-of-the-art facility wins widespread praise for its expert care and warm, soothing atmosphere that enhances a child’s ability to heal.

Contact Information
(608) 890-8070
1675 Highland Ave. 
Madison, WI 53792

  Ronald McDonald House information

Ronald McDonald House

The 18-bedroom Ronald McDonald House in Madison offers comfortable lodging at a nominal fee for families of patients at American Family Children’s Hospital. Located just blocks from the American Family Children Hospital at 2716 Marshall Court, the Ronald McDonald House seeks to provide families with a home away from home while their children undergo treatment.

When your child is sick, you want the best care possible – even if it is hundreds or thousands of miles away. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to access specialized medical treatment by providing a place to stay at little or sometimes no cost.

Staying at the Ronald McDonald House

To stay at the Ronald McDonald House, families must meet the following criteria:

  • The patient is 18 years old or younger
  • The family must be referred by an authorized representative of the Madison hospital/health care facility where the child is being treated
  • The family is capable of living in a setting with other families
  • The family does not live in the greater Madison area

Services for Families

  • Home-cooked meals
  • Private bedrooms
  • Playrooms for children

The generosity of volunteers and donors make it all possible. In return, families either stay at no cost or are asked to make a donation of up to $10 per night. Families have never turned away for their inability to pay.

Requesting a Room and Rides

Families of patients at American Family Children's Hospital who want to stay at the Ronald McDonald House may make the initial reservation through the staff at the American Family Children's Hospital Guest Depot or by calling the Guest Depot at (608) 890-8000.

If you have stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Madison in the past, you may call the House directly at (608) 232-4660 to make you own reservation. The Ronald McDonald House shuttle operates daily from 8am-8pm. Please call (608) 232-4660 to request a ride. The shuttle picks up at the main entrance of the American Family Children's Hospital.

Contact Information

For more information about the Ronald McDonald Care House, please contact Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison:

Phone: (608) 232-4660


Call (608) 890-8070 or Have us contact you

to get your child the treatment they need.