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ASH 2014: Dr. Sharman on Cracking the Biology of CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia)

In science and medicine, information is constantly changing and may become out-of-date as new data emerge. All articles and interviews are informational only, should never be considered medical advice, and should never be acted on without review with your health care team.

In the first of a two-part interview recorded at the 2014 American Society of Hematology annual meeting with Dr. Jeff Sharman, an important CLL researcher and helpful blogger (see, we take a step back and listen as Dr. Sharman explains how our increased understanding of the biology and lifecycle of the CLL cell has resulted in the breakthrough therapies we are enjoying today.

Take Away Points:

  • Unlike some cancers, CLL is not driven by one particular activating mutation.
  • B cell receptor signaling is an important driver of CLL proliferation.
  • The behavior and biology of the CLL cells inside the lymph nodes and the bone marrow is very different than that of the same cells in the blood stream.
  • CLL cells grow in the nodes and the bone marrow, not the blood stream.
  • The differences between the biology of the cells in and out of the blood stream have profound implications for therapy.
  • About 1% of our CLL cells are born and die each day.


Dr. Sharman is a good educator and takes the time to carefully explain what is happening in the lifecycle of our cancer cells.

My more colorful and simplistic analogy comes at the end of the presentation.

Here is the video:

Brian Koffman