Immunotherapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma or CLL/SLL holds the promise of harnessing the body’s immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer.
It’s appealing to use our defense to kill off a cell line gone wrong rather than using chemotherapy to carpet bomb it or even targeted therapy with small molecules to snipe at it.
Immunotherapy has proven remarkably successful in enhancing the efficacy of other CLL/SLL therapies and in some experimental settings such as CAR-T as a powerful standalone treatment.
There have also been many disappointments. This is perhaps because CLL/SLL is a cancer of the immune system, and our antibody and cellular response to threats such as infections or cancer are often muted. As a result, many treatments for CLL may further damage our ability to fight off the very cancer they are trying to eliminate.
Here is a link to this well-written but advanced review article aimed at doctors. It is best for those who want to dive deeper into knowing the present state of the art and what the future might look like: Immunotherapeutic Strategies in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Advances and Challenges.
Stay strong. We are all in this together.
Brian Koffman MDCM (retired) MS Ed
Co-Founder, Executive VP, and Chief Medical Officer