Innovation in the battle against CLL - IPHA

Innovation in the battle against CLL

Leukaemia is the general name given to a group of cancers that develop in the bone marrow. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukaemia diagnosed in adults. In Ireland and in the EU, it accounts for one-third of all cases or new leukaemia diagnoses. In Ireland, some 300 people are diagnosed with CLL annually. The global burden of CLL is expected to increase over the coming decades as the population ages. Treatments for CLL have evolved significantly in recent years. Initially, patients would have received a single type of chemotherapy. Then researchers discovered that different combinations of chemotherapy medicines led to better outcomes for patients. But these treatments can be tough on patients. A new class of treatments has become available which tackles CLL in new ways. These treatments can be taken orally, often in the patient’s home. They can lead to disease remission. That means patients can come off treatment for periods of time.

Who’s In Our Film?


Sailing enthusiast Geoffrey is a survivor of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, or CLL. He has tried chemotherapy and it worked. But it was hard. Then, the cancer returned. Now, breakthrough treatments mean he can avoid hospitalisation. He is able to take a break from the disease. He is in remission.


Ruth is the Director of the Cancer Clinical Trial Unit in University Hospital Limerick. She is involved in bringing new cancer treatments to the region. She is the Academic Lead for Cancer Research for the UL Hospitals Group which works to develop our cancer research infrastructure.


Fidelma cares for patients with blood cancer. She gives patients safe, timely, evidenced-based care. She specialises in oral, targeted anti-cancer treatments, a complex multi-step process that aims to allow patients to self-medicate at home.


Through Ailín’s work in the haematology laboratory, she helps in the detection of disease. Her team’s focus now is the development of a digital morphology platform that will accelerate the detection of abnormalities in a patient’s blood.


Tomáš is a production operator at AbbVie in Cork. Making medicines that give hope to patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, or CLL, inspires him every day to do his job.


Sara works as a Drug Product Quality Control Supervisor at AbbVie’s Sligo site where she oversees the testing of oncology medicines. Ensuring the quality and safety of these medicines is vital for cancer patients.