Leukemia (CLL)

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The New Approach to CLL Treatment

Dr. Nicole Lamanna Columbia University Medical Center

New drugs that have been approved for CLL treatment in the past couple of years have drastically changed the way the disease is treated. CLL treatment in the past consisted of IV medication–meaning patients would be given a cocktail of up to three drugs intravenously. Because patients needed breaks to recover from the toxicity of the therapy, the drugs would often be given in cycles. Afterwards, a patient would be placed on observation to see if they required additional treatment.

The new oral medications for CLL treatment have improved survival rates. The downside is that patients have to commit to taking them every day for the rest of their lives which is difficult for a lot of people, says Dr. Nicole Lamanna, a leukemia specialist at Columbia University Medical Center. To try and solve this problem doctors are now combining some of these oral agents with even some gentler IV treatments. Dr. Lamanna says they are trying to see “if we can get people into a deeper remission. In other words, can we get rid of more of their leukemia, and then stop the oral therapy?” There is also exciting new research combining oral agents together without using any IV treatments.

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Dr. Nicole Lamanna is a hematologist/oncologist at Columbia University Medical Center. Her research interests include lymphoid leukemias, specifically chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Read More

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