Eureka Alert

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a haematological malignancy that originates in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and spreads to other organs through the bloodstream. When infiltrating tissues, CLL cells come in contact with healthy cells, including immune cells. To ensure their survival and growth, CLL cells are able to establish a microenvironment in which the immune response is suppressed. Researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) succeeded in characterising in depth the composition of immune cells and circulating cytokines of the CLL microenvironment in mouse models using mass cytometry. Based on this knowledge, they propose an immunotherapeutic strategy with two immune checkpoint inhibitors that efficiently blocks disease development in preclinical tests. The scientists published their findings in open access in the April 2018 issue of the acclaimed scientific journal Blood.

CLL is a common leukaemia type that mostly affects adults above the age of 50, progresses slowly and often remains without apparent symptoms for a long time. The disease is currently not curable, but different treatments can prolong life expectancy.

CLL can only develop in a tumour-supportive microenvironment in which the immune response is suppressed. To better understand how this immune suppression is achieved, researchers from


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