CLL Support Association
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CLL Clinical trials explained: Video from Dr George Follows and article for patients/carers from Professor Peter Hillmen

CLL Clinical trials explained:  Video from Dr George Follows and article for patients/carers from Professor Peter Hillmen

Dr George Follows of Cambridge University Hospitals, discusses clinical trials for CLL patients

Clinical trials are not for everyone. Discussion about suitability is an “individual thing” and requires consideration of many factors and discussion between the CLL patient and Doctor. In this brief video Dr Follow's touches on some of the many pros and cons

Q1) Do you think joining clinical trials is a way for CLL patients to get around access problems in the NHS?

Q2) Can you expect to have to travel to join a CLL clinical trial ?

CLL Trials in the UK.

This leaflet has been updated by the CLLSA from the original which was written by Professor Peter Hillmen Consultant Haematologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, NHS Trust. Peter is Chairman of the CLL Trials Group of the National Cancer Research Institute.

The article has been written for patients and their carers and assumes almost no prior medical knowledge.


Until relatively recently research into the understanding of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and therapy of the disease has been somewhat pedestrian compared to other haematological malignancies, such as acute myeloid leukaemia. The principle reasons for this impression were that there was little understanding of the biology of CLL and there was a lack of novel therapeutic agents. This has all changed in dramatic fashion over the last decade. This change has been led by remarkable advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of CLL as well as new insights into the reasons why CLL becomes resistant to therapy in some patients. Simultaneously with these advances we have witnessed the development of several potential novel therapies for CLL. Together these advances are revolutionizing the way we look at, and treat, CLL. There is a need to change the therapeutic and diagnostic perception of CLL to a more proactive view

We have moved from the times when the only treatment intent was palliation to a time when real efforts at achieving meaningful improvements in survival can be expected. There is the hope that in the not to distant future we may even talk of cure (or at least indefinite control) of CLL in more than just a small minority of patients. CLL is now arguably one of the most rapidly moving disorders, in terms of our understanding, in oncology generally. Along with these advances come many challenges including how do we test the variety of therapeutic options for patients and therefore navigate our way to the most effective treatment for individual patients? How do haematologists who do not have a particular specialist interest in CLL maintain and update their knowledge in order to deliver the best therapy for their patients? In addition, how do we make available these advances in our understanding of the biology of CLL to all patients in the United Kingdom? The new treatments for CLL are not inexpensive both in terms of financial implications to the NHS as well as in terms of potential side effects for individual patients.

The answer to all of these questions must be, at least in part, by continuing our strong commitment to well designed clinical trials. However there are significant obstacles placed in our way with increasing bureaucracy, increasing costs of running trials and the not inconsiderable cost of the newer agents even within clinical trials

Read more:

PS appendix 1 will be updated very soon to include new trials and updates

You can access to a more extensive trials list and further information here:

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