Is There a Cure Around the Corner for Chronic Lympocytic Leukemia?

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During this year’s International Workshop on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Shih-Shih Chen, PhD, was recognized for her innovative research.

Her research could mean a cure is around the corner for CLL.

The workshop has been held every other year since 1979. It’s a time to foster discussion and collaboration between researchers in addition to recognizing potential advancements in the field. It draws the most knowledgeable scientists from around the globe.

At every workshop, they are able to submit their latest abstract for competition. The abstracts are evaluated for their potential contributions to CLL research. Out of this year’s 237 submitted, Dr. Chen received the highest score.

Dr. Chen knew that if you could block the cells affected by the cancer from growing or dividing, (in this case the white blood cells called B-lymphocytes), you would be able to reduce the cancer’s effect on the body.

She discovered that the drug ibrutinib could stop the cancerous cells from doing just that. And the remaining cells that the drug couldn’t reach, would have a greater chance of being treated by combined therapies. Read more about her research in PR Newswire here!

Dr. Chen’s work is so important because chronic lymphocytic leukemia isn’t contained in one part of the body.

It makes it uniquely different from most other cancers. That’s part of the reason finding a cure has been so slow. Scientists have had to search for something that could reach all affected cells, without disrupting the rest of the body.

It’s brilliant minds like Dr. Chen that give hope to the CLL community. Perhaps this was the piece of innovation needed to finally implement an effective cure. At the very least, it’s another step in the right direction.


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