July 2018

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Clinical Research Corner

Volunteers Needed for CLL Study

Do you have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL)? If so, you could be eligible to take part in an NIH study testing the safety and effectiveness of a certain drug combination.

CLL/SLL is a type of blood cancer where the bone marrow creates too many lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. They are part of the immune system, which normally works to fight infection and disease in the body. The extra cells can’t stop infection as well, and lower the supply of other needed blood cells. CLL and SLL are the same disease, but in CLL cancer cells are found mostly in the blood and bone marrow. In SLL, cancer cells are found mostly in the lymph nodes.

Ibrutinib and fludarabine are current treatment options for CLL. Pembrolizumab is a type of immune therapy that helps your body’s own immune system to attack the cancer cells.

NIH researchers are studying whether CLL can be treated more effectively by using these three drugs. Volunteers will take part in a 2-phase study. During phase 1, participants will take ibrutinib every day for 12 weeks. During weeks 5 and 9, they will also receive an infusion of fludarabine for 5 days in a row. Phase 2 will consist of taking ibrutinib once a day along with an infusion of pembrolizumab once every 3 weeks for over 2 years. After the 2 years, your study doctor will decide if you would benefit from further therapy with ibrutinib only.

Volunteers will have regular visits throughout the study. NIH welcomes all CLL and SLL patients to be screened for the study. All study-related tests and procedures are provided at no cost to participants. Travel may be reimbursed.