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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Symptoms and Causes

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells (called lymphocytes) in the bone marrow and then invades the bloodstream. Over 15,000 new cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia are reported annually. CLL seldom affects children and is diagnosed most often in people over age 55. Doctors are unsure about the exact causes of this type of cancer.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is one of several types of leukemia, or cancers of the blood and bone marrow cells. Bone marrow produces most of our blood cells. Leukemia always starts in the bone marrow and can spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and other parts of the body. Leukemia cells usually build up in the body over time. Consequently, most people won't exhibit symptoms for at least a few years (if at all). Those symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, weight loss and frequent infections. CLL usually grows more slowly than other types of leukemia.

The Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research and Treatment Program

The Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research and Treatment Program at the Feinstein Institute of North Shore-LIJ Health System has become a landmark for CLL patients worldwide. Dr. Kanti Rai has been involved in diagnosing and treating CLL for almost 40 years, and the staging system that bears his name came out of his early breakthrough research. He has been collaborating with Nicholas Chiorazzi, MD, and other CLL scientists at the Feinstein Institute for years, and their shared commitment has made its mark in the field.   

Many of the important aspects of research, currently underway globally on chronic lymphocytic leukemia are based on discoveries at the Feinstein Institute. Because of its laboratory and clinical strengths, patients come to the program for treatment and are invited to participate in research at every level. There are basic science studies through Dr. Chiorazzi’s lab and almost a dozen clinical trials through the CLL clinical program. Patients are eager to participate in the research underway, because they know that it is the only way that scientists will arrive at answers that will ultimately drive towards an effective treatment for CLL. It’s translational science at its best. If clinicians see a pattern in their patients, those findings will be brought back to the lab for further scrutiny. It is critical to understand the disease so that it can lead to better treatments. 

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common leukemia in the Western world. From basic research to studies which are complemented through collaboration with other groups of scientists such as CLL Research Consortium and the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), the CLL program at Feinstein and the North Shore-LIJ Health System has helped all patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

For more information, or to make an appointment, call: (718/516) 470-4050

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Clinical Trials

The North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute offers a full array of clinical trials. The result of this research not only impacts survival, but also enhances the quality of life. For more information about clinical trials for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, visit Cancer Clinical Trials.

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