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Event Recap: CLL Expert Forum

The OMI team hosted our Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Expert Forum in Dallas, TX on August 4th - 5th, 2017. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, or CLL, is a slow-forming, hematologic cancer, that arises in bone marrow cells that then move into the blood. This Expert Forum brought together national experts to discuss and debate the rapidly emerging information on new molecular targets, novel therapies, and the evolution of care in CLL treatment.

Many ideas were addressed in this one-and-a-half-day meeting. One big topic of discussion was "Designing clinical trials for CLL". Our experts expressed their opinions and discussed on how to address risk assessments during trials, and how to integrate new endpoints into study designs. These ideas will help optimize clinical trials for approval of new drugs in the CLL field.

Another large discussion was over the emerging drugs available for CLL treatment. Treating patients with compounds that inhibit BTK signaling can lead to very successful outcomes and set a high standard for treating disease, although resistance to these compounds can arise through mutations with BTK itself. Newer BTK inhibitors are addressing these risks and are moving forward in clinical trials, and may be promising for patients who have relapsed/refractory CLL. Other pathways can play a big role in treatment as well. PI3K inhibitors can be very efficacious drugs. However, patients' risks and benefits should be considered when using BTK or PI3K inhibitors. Agents targeting the cellular apoptosis pathway can be used in combination with these treatments to help rid a patient of disease.

New methods of treatment are emerging into the field of CLL. CAR-T cells are a hot topic in the cancer field right now, and a great conversation over the technology and their role in CLL ensued at our expert forum. Another novel therapy involves the use of antibodies to treat CLL. Both monoclonal and bispecific antibodies were discussed, and a great topic of debate was how to administer antibodies for the optimal response.

These discussions by our experts led to a very successful meeting. Ultimately, the ideas brought into conversation will aid in moving the treatment of CLL forward, and we enjoyed sharing this program with our supporters. 

Amy Graham, PhD - Research Associate, Scientific Communication