Highlights from iwCLL 2015
Prof Stephen Mulligan - CLL Australian Research Consortium, Sydney, Australia
You are the President of the organising committee, how do you feel that the conference has gone and what do you think are the highlights?
Yes, so I’ve been the Chairman for the international workshop on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia here in Sydney in 2015. I think the meeting has run very well; we seem to have had quite a lot of very positive feedback. We went to a lot of effort to try and get a good comprehensive programme so that the main programme, the corporate symposia and the young investigator meeting complemented each other, both in terms of content and in speakers. We seem to have got good feedback with regard to that.
There have been a lot of highlights. First and foremost, the very fact that we’re holding the first international workshop on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia here in Sydney that’s outside the United States and Europe. It has been a wonderful opportunity to engage with haematologists and CLL doctors in Australia, New Zealand, the Asia-Pacific region and our other, for that matter, southern hemisphere colleagues from Argentina and South America. Large numbers of delegates came from each of those areas, particularly from Australia and New Zealand.
There is quite a lot of basic science going on in Australia as well, isn’t there, in this area?
Yes, there’s a significant amount of basic science and also clinical trials taking place in Australia. We’ve contributed quite significantly to a number of international clinical trials now. Some of that trial data has emerged at this meeting and others as part of the literature and the current knowledge base as it is at the moment.
And in the young scientists’ meeting, who are the up and coming new scientists and researchers?
There are quite a few of them. First of all we had, as has become tradition now, the young investigator meeting the day immediately prior to the international workshop on CLL main programme. We’ve tried to integrate the programme between the young investigator meeting and the iwCLL main meeting. One of the highlights and new features that we’ve had with iwCLL this year has been to hold a best of iwCLL plenary session. That has been a real highlight and, in fact, virtually everyone at that was a young investigator in CLL. So it’s really a very exciting time for CLL because we’re in a period of momentous change in CLL, both in terms of breakthrough biology and also in terms of the new therapies that we’ve got: the B-cell receptor antagonists, and we’ve heard a tremendous amount about that at the meeting here, as well as Venetoclax and the Bcl-2 inhibitors and lots of new information emerging with CLL. It’s a very exciting time to be involved in the field.