updated 2/13/2012 7:03:21 PM ET 2012-02-14T00:03:21

A senator and three doctor groups are urging makers of a crucial cancer drug suddenly in short supply to try to step up production.

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A critical shortage of methotrexate has doctors and hospitals around the country panicking because it's the key treatment for a common childhood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.

With the drug, doctors say they can cure nearly 90 percent of the roughly 3,500 American children and teens diagnosed with this cancer each year.

Specialty groups representing researchers and doctors who care for children with cancer say hospitals will run out of the drug within weeks, increasing chances that patients will die.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, sent a similar plea to the companies late today.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Drug shortage may put kids in danger

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