Dr Michael Keating's Story - Taking CLL Therap... - CLL Support

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Dr Michael Keating's Story - Taking CLL Therapies From Bedside to Community


A fascinating overview of one of the giants in CLL research, who provided many of us with the first treatment capable of prolonging life expectancy (FCR) and for about 60% of those who are mutated IgHV, effectively a cure. From humble beginnings in Melbourne Australia, to a fulfilling career at the forefront of CLL research at M D Anderson in Texas and the creation of the CLL Global Research Foundation, Dr Keating's story illustrates what can be achieved by someone who doesn't like being bored when assisted by multiple instances of happenstance. "If you keep pursuing the answers to clinical questions, you’ll enjoy your time and benefit the patients.”

Thank you Dr Keating!

onclive.com/publications/On... (Free registration)


This post is unlocked in the hope that Dr Keating will read comments from those who have benefited from his life's work.

Photo: I thought the green and gold of Australian wattle would be a suitable photo to accompany this post

12 Replies

I have always thought the bit of red flesh going down the neck of the turkey was a "wattle"---and I am beginning to have a bit of the loose neck/chin connection that happens to those aging, which has been referred to as a wattle.

Wattle they come up with next to call "wattle"?

Nice to know some of the history. Thanks for the posting.

AussieNeilAdministrator in reply to cllady01

Wattle trees (Acacias) are a subset of the pea family, which is obvious when you look at the seed pods. Coincidentally I happened to notice some long pea like pods on a wattle bush earlier this week.

Further to your observation about neck wattles, Australia has large honeyeater birds called wattle birds. There was one in our patio yesterday. They have red wattles on the sides of their neck: ih0.redbubble.net/image.241...

(Not my photo)

cllady01Volunteer in reply to AussieNeil

Why am I not surprised to read your answer and have an example of another Australian's unique specimen of animal as part of that?

You are a curious bird, Neil, and I mean that in the best definition of curious.

Thanks for sharing your findings in all areas.

Great article.

Dr. Keating has officially announced that he is retiring from patient practice, but will continue researching. Sad news for his patients, but good news for all of us. We need researchers like him who are pushing research to the next levels.

Thanks for posting!

He is a great CLL pioneer.

Thanks for opening the door Dr Keating.

I am having trouble logging in to Onclive this AM. I will come back later and read the publication.

Thanks for the post Neil,


Dr Keating was my doctor since 2010. The first time I met him he hugged me and told me not to worry. He was my third opinion with my 11q CLL. I was to fly home to Cleveland that afternoon. He kept me and started treatment with FCR. It was so recently approved my insurance company wouldn’t cover it until they confirmed its approval. That postponed my treatment for a day. He told me I would have a reaction to the first treatment and therefore thought it best I have it there at MD Anderson but could have subsequent treatments in Cleveland. Well I had the reaction and the first day was rough with the chemo,Benadryl,steroids and other drugs for the reaction. So after about 6 hours I walked out of the hospital feeling like I’d been in a heavyweight fight with a very dry mouth. I passed an ice cream store and knew I needed and deserved ice cream. As I sat at the table outside the store still in a bit of shockI could see Dr Keating walking towards me on the phone. He stopped and remarked “ oh here is one of my patients that I have effectively poisoned today”. He leaned over and told me I was going to be fine. He was right. Years later when I relapsed he told me to wait for Ibrutinib to be approved. He told me not to worry and I would be fine.More hugs. He was right. A year ago he got me enrolled in the venetoclax and Ibrutinib study and said I would be fine. More hugs. I am fine. My doctor retired but his spirit lives on in me. But man do I miss the hugs. I have a lot to be thankful for sitting here today and Dr Michael J Keating is at the top of my list. God bless a wonderful man. Tony.

MsLockYourPostsVolunteer in reply to Dahlia7

I feel very fortunate to have met Dr. Keating, and to have had a chance to chat with him, twice, at CLL Canada conferences. I even got one of his famous hugs the morning he was in front of me in the breakfast line. I'm glad that he is continuing with his research.

It has been interesting, over the years, to see what he, and others, have tried, and to see which ones have made it past the laboratory, trials, and gotten to approval. Lots of things that seemed promising at some point are no longer around, but constantly trying new things has led to some amazing treatment options. We owe a lot to Dr. Keating and other researchers who have just kept at it, despite disappointments, to get us to where we are today.

As a 2014/2015 FCR patient, currently with no signs of relapse:

If you gave me one more wish it would be for a time travel machine to go back to the late 1980's and meet my father again, who was at the time a terminally ill CLL patient.

I will have to remember to take the FCR with me.

I see Fludarabine was first approved for medical use in 1991, so I will need time travel (I have wondered about that).

First thing when I meet him is I'll have to explain that I also contracted the CLL in 2010, and that I've time travelled back from 2019

He'll then ask "but hang on how have you got here now? "

At that point I'll have to try to explain it all, and hand over the FCR (Hmmm . . . I might need some G-CSF and other stuff ..... errr, yes ! . . . . I need to take a tablet computer loaded with all your posts for him to read.).

Explaining the time travel machine might be a bit harder.

And of course I'll have to pick my visiting time carefully to avoid bumping into myself etc. (which I understand is not allowed).

On the FCR etc. I'll just break the time travel rules.

Now more seriously, I've got a terminally ill relative at the moment (my generation) with a brain cancer that (to me) makes CLL seem trivial.

We are told its too late for treatment in his case, but doing some reading the one place I can see running Proton Beam trials for that is M D Anderson.

So - Big Thank You Michael, and all those that have worked with you, and all you have inspired, to give patients hope.

A truly great career.

Best wishes to all,



I can remember soon after my CLL diagnosis, feeling truly afraid and confused sat in bed playing a video in which Dr. Keating talked so positively about future treatments in CLL. I played the video to my husband and tears ran down my face. He instilled such hope in me at a time when I was very frightened.

A true superstar and colossus of the CLL world and I envy those who have had the privilege of being one of his patients.


This has got to be a reference to Dr. Keating, right? (At timestamp 7m22s.) What a legend.


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