The History of CLL Research

Until recently, CLL was considered an incurable disease. We know today that a fraction of patients will achieve durable remissions and are practically cured. In this talk I will review the history of CLL research showing how treatment options that are currently available emerged over time, and how past discoveries led us to what we know today about the pathobiology of the disease. In this voyage of time I will present early case series dating 100 years back that provide a window to the natural history of CLL. We will get acquainted with key personas in the history of CLL and learn what links the mass immigration of Yamen Jews to Israel during the 1950s and the "eternal life of the CLL cell" theory. We will show how old concepts gained revival with the introduction of novel agents and how accumulating data discarded previous misconceptions. Finally, we will underscore discoveries from last decade that have implications far beyond the world of CLL research and offer our solution to a  20 years enigma.