Evolutionary biology and CLL therapy

Dan Landau, MD, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College and the NYGC, New York, NY, discusses his work focusing on the process of evolutionary biology. His research looks specifically at how cells within our body evolve continuously throughout our lifetime. Cancer represents an accelerated form of this process, the cells start to evolve independently. Dr Landau expresses being very excited about this, particularly chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which offers a chance to study this directly in patients. Samples can be taken longitudinally over time, categorizing the process of somatic evolution, in very fine detail. He mentions how this type of information can be utilized, to think about better therapeutic approaches. Evolution is one of the central challenges that we have today, in terms of cancer therapy. Despite the fact that good therapies are being developed, the cancer is able to evolve and adapt, therefore experts need to start thinking about how to directly anticipate this evolutionary process. Dr Landau believes CLL is a good area to explore those questions, as multiple effective therapies are starting to be applied, thereby bringing up questions such as, how they can be combined and what the quantitative frameworks are that can be leveraged to help make those kinds of decisions. Recorded at the 2016 International Workshop of the German CLL Study Group (GCLLSG) in Cologne, Germany.

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