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Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in Older Adults

Why Many Choose Israel for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment in Older Adults

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, is the most common leukemia in adults, accounting for approximately one-third of all leukemias. A majority of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cases are diagnosed in older adults, people in their early 70s, which can often complicate treatment.

CLL is caused by a genetic mutation in the DNA of blood-producing cells, which triggers the development of abnormal, ineffective lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that usually helps your body fight infection. Other than being ineffective, these abnormal lymphocytes continue to live and multiply. They can then build up in the blood and in certain organs, where they cause complications such as anemia and infection, and may crowd healthy cells out of the bone marrow and interfere with normal blood cell production.

It can take a long time before CLL causes noticeable problems, and most people can live with it unaware for many years. However, chronic leukemias tend to be harder to cure than acute leukemias, which is why it is vital to seek expert treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia promptly, particularly in the case of older adult patients whose immune systems are somewhat less potent. Common treatments for CLL include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplant, while select medical facilities also offer advanced immunotherapies, and especially, CAR T-cell therapy.

CAR T-Cell Therapy: Cutting-Edge Treatment for Older Adult Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients

CAR T-cell therapy is an innovative procedure that uses your own immune system to seek and destroy cancerous cells. The CAR T-cell process begins with the patient’s blood being drawn. White blood cells (specifically, T-cells, an essential part of the immune system) are then separated from the rest of the blood using advanced technology. The white blood cells are subsequently sent to a specialized laboratory, where they are engineered to produce specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. These CAR T-cells are then injected back into the patient’s bloodstream, where the new CARs can help them latch on to an antigen on the tumor cells – significantly increasing their ability to effectively hunt down and destroy cancerous cells.

CAR T-cell therapy has enabled many patients who did not respond to other treatment methods, including older adult chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, to achieve remission.

Unfortunately, as a cutting-edge treatment, CAR T-cell therapy is only available at a handful of medical institutions worldwide, and tends to be very expensive. At Sheba Medical Center, we boast all of the advanced facilities necessary for delivering CAR T-cell therapy from start to finish: including a dedicated laboratory to engineer the T-cells.

Sam Turel’s Story: Older Adult Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment at Sheba

Eight years after Sam Turel’s initial CLL diagnosis, he suffered a relapse, which soon took a sudden turn for the worse. Doctors in his native India administered Sam with chemotherapy, but as he explains:

“My body wasn’t able to cope with the toxicity.”

It was then that Sam began to research advanced treatment options, which led him to Sheba Medical Center. After receiving CAR T-cell therapy at Sheba, Sam’s CLL went into full remission.

Click here to read more about Sam’s story.

The Benefits of Choosing Israel for Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in Older Adults

Advanced Treatment:

Medical institutions in Israel and the US often collaborate in cutting-edge cancer research, developing new and effective treatments against the disease, yet Israel has fewer constraints than the US when it comes to adopting novel therapies. Israeli clinical trials still adhere to the highest safety standards, but innovative treatments are generally made available to patients sooner than in the US.

Quality of Care:

Israeli physicians are exceptionally well-trained and often spend even more time on their medical education than American doctors. Also, you can be assured of high standards and strict safety regulations if you choose a hospital accredited by a trustworthy authority.


In many countries, healthcare costs can be exorbitant. Without insurance, the costs of cancer treatment can be crippling. Prices are much lower in Israel, averaging 30-80% less than in the US, for example. That said, you’re not trading affordability for quality, since Israeli specialists, medical institutions, equipment, and procedures are among the most advanced in the world.

Where to Pursue Treatment in Israel?

Having discovered a few of the many advantages of choosing Israel for the treatment of lymphocytic leukemia in older adults, where exactly should you pursue it? Sheba Medical Center is an exceptional choice. One of the 10 best hospitals in the world according to Newsweek magazine, Sheba is dedicated to providing patients with world-class medical care.

The advantages of receiving treatment at Sheba Medical Center include:

  • As a government institution, we have no hidden costs, and our fees are transparent. Although we offer advanced treatments available only in select medical institutions worldwide, our prices are affordable.
  • Sheba treats each patient as a unique individual, personalizing every therapy program.
  • Sheba’s 360-degree care approach to every patient means that our professionals will assist you with arranging medical record reviews, travel, visas, accommodations, and language interpretation as needed.
  • Sheba has full accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), the premier international healthcare accrediting group.
  • Our physicians are actively involved in the latest research and application of progressive treatments.
  • Sheba’s extensive experience with CAR T-cell therapy speaks louder than words. Under the expertise of Prof. Arnon Nagler, Director of the Hemato-Oncology Division, and a world-renowned specialist in the field, we have provided over 220 patients with CAR T-cell therapy.
  • Convenient on-site CAR T-cell care: We offer all of the required services for CAR T-cell therapy under one roof, including blood collection, chemotherapy, a genetic engineering laboratory, T-cell injections, and patient monitoring, resulting in an efficient and expedited treatment.
  • Multidisciplinary medicine: at Sheba, specialists from various departments collaborate to create a holistic treatment plan.

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Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone.

We welcome all cases, including the rarest and the most challenging. Our medical teams collaborate to provide the best possible health outcomes. From your initial inquiry through the long-term follow-up care, we are here for you.

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