Prof. Dr. med. Michael Hallek
Priv.-Doz. Dr. med. Thomas Elter
Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL)
Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukaemia in western countries. It predominantly affects older people. Leukaemia is a collective term for diseases accompanied by a malignant increase in white blood cells and is therefore frequently referred to as blood cancer. For most patients, this form of leukaemia progresses very slowly, but there are also rare cases where the illness progresses very rapidly.
Enlarged lymph nodes are the most common warning sign of the disease. Tiredness or exhaustion, a loss of vitality, significant unintentional weight loss, or frequent infections are other possible symptoms.
Thanks to many new forms of therapy, CLL can now be treated better than just a few years ago. Which therapy form is best suited varies from one patient to the next and depends on a number of factors, for example, the stage of the illness, the risk factors found during a more extensive examination of the CLL cells, and whether or not the patient is suffering from other related diseases. At the CIO ∙ Cancer Center Cologne, you will always be treated by experienced specialists, i.e. our oncologists.
At a more advanced stage, CLL is treated with drugs. In addition to chemotherapy, new forms of immunotherapy (in particular, antibodies) as well as specific forms of therapy with new, highly effective drugs are available, which we also offer to outpatients.
Our clinic also offers stem cell therapy using allogenic (donor) stem cells for patients with advanced CLL and a poor prognosis.
Knowledge leadership at CIO ∙ Cancer Center Cologne
The CIO ∙ Cancer Center Cologne is involved in outstanding research work in the field of CLL. Our patients especially benefit from the fact that the German CLL Study Group is located on the premises of University Hospital Cologne. Since 1996, this Study Group has been headed by Professor Michael Hallek and is performing numerous trials to improve the diagnosis and treatment of CLL. The German CLL Study Group is one of the world’s leading institutions working to improve the treatment of CLL and this offers our patients fast access to new forms of therapy.
The findings of the CLL Study Group have received international recognition and played a key role in the development of modern forms of therapy that are now being applied in many countries. As part of an international trial, for instance, it was possible to demonstrate that the application of the antibody Rituximab can considerably improve the efficiency of today's chemotherapy.
Furthermore, the Study Group also collaborated with the Mayo Clinic in the US and found a new system for more accurate prognosis for individual patients with CLL. The clinical trials are being complemented by research projects that focus on research into causes and new approaches for future therapies.