The cofounder, executive vice president, and chief medical officer, CLL Society, discussed unmet needs that remain for people with CLL and how the society is working to advance research in the field.
“Many clinicians, and even more people in pharmaceutical industry see CLL as a solved problem. And we are blessed to have incredible therapies, as a patient myself, I can say that I would not be alive today if not for these breakthrough therapies and the clinical trials that I've been in. But CLL is not a solved problem, it's more like 2 strikes and you're out.”
During the 2023 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, held December 9-12, in San Diego, California, CGTLive spoke with Brian Koffman, MDCM, DCFP, FCFP, DABFP, MSEd, the cofounder of CLL Society. CLL Society is focused on advocating for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Koffman has a unique perspective with CLL, having been a clinician who was diagnosed with CLL himself.
With CGTLive, Koffman discussed the unmet needs that remain in the field for patients with CLL, despite breakthrough therapies that have been approved for the indication in recent years, including BCL-2 and BTK inhibitors. He stressed that, while many clinicians and companies see CLL as a “solved problem”, there are no real options for patients whose disease is double refractory to BCL-2 and BTK inhibitors. Another issue that remains to be addressed is the seriously immunocompromised immune systems of patients with CLL, who are vulnerable to secondary cancers and serious infections.
CLL Society is hoping to accelerate more research in the field of CLL, mainly by way of funding, and Koffman shared details of 2 grants the society has awarded so far. Lastly, although there were not many updates on CLL research at the 2023 ASH meeting, Koffman is optimistic that 2024 will see new research in advancing care for patients with CLL.