About CLL Society’s Research Program

Over the past several years, it has become more challenging for researchers to secure adequate funding for academic and research-related work that is specifically focused on chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL). This may be due in part to CLL/SLL being largely perceived as a solved problem. As a result of this common misconception, overall funding capacity has not grown to meet the ongoing need for CLL/SLL research. In January 2022, CLL Society launched a research program that is devoted to supporting underfunded areas of bench and translational science. CLL Society’s Research Program will be dedicated exclusively to funding research dedicated only to areas specific to CLL/SLL.

CLL Society hopes that by providing emerging scientists with substantive grants we can help to grow and develop a new generation of lab scientists committed to solving the unmet needs of the disease. To achieve CLL Society’s strategic vision, we recognize the importance of providing funding to support the next generation of researchers who will advance the field.

Supporting Investigators Early in Their Career

CLL Society will be awarding one new “Young Investigator Award” each year in the amount of $150,000, which will be dispersed in annual payments of $50,000 over three years. Our Research Review Committee will continue to select and fund at least one new researcher each year, with hopes of eventually increasing both the number and size of our annual award(s) in the future as financial resources allow.

A Young Investigator is defined as a junior faculty member (instructor or assistant professor) and/or postdoctoral fellow who focuses on pre-clinical research. Their program must have a teaching curriculum and mentoring element, with well-established investigators who have excellent track records in CLL/SLL. The Young Investigator Award is intended to develop medical knowledge, thereby stimulating future research that is applicable to the development of medical innovations, which will save and sustain the lives of those with CLL/SLL.

While acknowledging the incredible amount of progress that has been made over the past decade for CLL/SLL, we recognize that there is much more work that remains. CLL Society has identified four critical areas of unmet need:

  1. Disease progression after receiving a B-cell receptor inhibitor and venetoclax (double refractory disease)
  2. Richter’s transformation
  3. The need to strengthen or reconstitute the impaired immune system
  4. Curative therapies


CLL Society’s Research Program is focused on promoting pre-clinical research that provides pathways to solving the four previously mentioned critical unmet needs of those with CLL/SLL while also taking into consideration the following Research Program objectives:

  • Develop a better understanding of CLL/SLL genesis, progression, and transformation.
  • Identify new or improve existing treatment options.
  • Elucidate the nature of and determine methods for reducing associated morbidity and mortality arising from immune dysfunction and other complications in CLL/SLL.
  • Minimize inequities in overall survivorship, treatment options, and access to care through promoting greater diversity in research and forming a greater understanding of the presentation of CLL/SLL in various demographic groups.
  • Realize an overall improvement in outcomes for all CLL/SLL patients.