Report on the Fifth Midlands Annual Conference of the CLLSA, 30th and 31st May 2012.

The conference was held near Hinckley Leicestershire over two days to accommodate the largest gathering of CLLSA members to date with many members reacquainting themselves with those they had met at previous meetings and many making new friends and developing new relationships.

The conference was opened by the new CLLSA Chair Arthur Graley who was also conference chair for the two days. He then introduced Tricia Gardom the conference organiser who outlined the structure of the conference and explained the themes for each of the two days.

Day one focused on the patient issues resulting from a diagnosis of CLL and began with a presentation from Chaya Venkat who launched the conference with a highly entertaining but challenging talk on dealing with diagnosis. You could sense that members appreciated her lively and humorous style and the warmth with which she was greeted remained throughout the two days of the conference. Members were able to reflect on Chaya’s talk in the discussion groups that followed.

After lunch, Dr Ben Kennedy talked about the 'Management of Infections & Immune Complications in CLL'. Ben has been a guest speaker at the Midlands conference for the last three years and we are very grateful for his support of the association. Part of his talk also touched on prognostic markers and included data and graphs from the recent CLL study group paper ‘Defining the prognosis of early stage chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients’ which is posted on Chaya Venkat’s website:

After tea, Lisa Mullins the Macmillan Involvement Coordinator for Central and Southwest shared the stage with Richard Moody the information officer at the Macmillan centre at Leicester Royal infirmary. Together they delivered the portfolio of support services offered by Macmillan and gave an example of NHS facilities being piloted to provide much improved support services for patients.

The focus for day two was Decision Time and the content was geared towards patients who are approaching treatment, are in treatment or are considering further treatment. The first talk by Professor Paul Moss, Head of Cancer Research UK, gave the conference a detailed update on CLL trials current and planned and explained the new Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) initiative. The discussions which followed allowed members to choose the specific treatment regimes in which they were interested: Stem Cell Transplant (SCT); Fluradabine Cyclophosphimide Rituximab Treatment (FCR); CLL Trials and Other Drug Combinations.

Chaya Venkat developed the theme in the afternoon with a talk on Smart Therapy Choices and was followed by Professor Steve Devereux who, on behalf of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, outlined the 'Trials Acceleration Programme' (TAP).

We would like to thank everybody associated with the conference for making it so successful. The majority of members returned really positive evaluations and said how much they had enjoyed the presentations and appreciated the opportunity to meet and talk to others.

We are pleased to announce that the DVD of the presentations at the event is now available to members.  The DVD productions took longer than planned as we wanted it to be of the best possible quality. 

We were successful in obtaining grant funding towards production so will only have to ask for a contribution towards post and packing.  As there are 4 DVDs in the pack the post and packing will cost £5 per set.

If you would like us to send you a set of DVDs please can you send a cheque for £5 made payable to ‘CLL Support Association’.  Please send your cheque to:

CLL Support Association

61A, New Road

Chippenham

Wiltshire

SN15 1ES

Please note that this is not our main postal address, this is where we are storing the DVDs.  We can ensure that the process is as quick as possible if cheques are sent here.