Prof. Dr med. Dr phil. Torsten Haferlach

Torsten Haferlach

Prof. Dr med. Dr phil.
MLL Munich Leukaemia Laboratory


After his habilitation in internal medicine in 1996 with a focus on hematology and internal oncology, MLL founder and managing director Prof. Dr med. Dr phil. Torsten Haferlach has worked as a senior physician at the university clinics in Kiel, Göttingen and Munich-Großhadern. From 1998 he headed the laboratory for special leukemia diagnostics at the Munich-Großhadern Clinic.  In 2005 Prof. Dr med. Dr phil. Torsten Haferlach founded together with Prof Dr med. Claudia Haferlach and Prof. Dr med. Wolfgang Kern the MLL Munich Leukemia Laboratory.

The MLL is an international well recognized leading institution in the field of leukemia diagnostics and research, which is characterized by a highly innovative environment. With more than 200 employees of which 1/3 are scientists, a lab space of 1.200 qm and a 7days a week service the goal is to help shape the future of hematological diagnostics and therapy using the most modern molecular and information technology methods.

Lecture: Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL), from suspicion to confirmation

The workflow and algorithm to diagnose leukaemia needs to be optimised for patient care and laboratory use. Methods such as cytomorphology (including cytochemistry) on peripheral blood smears or bone marrow smears as well as immunophenotyping have the shortest TAT. Thus, first discrimination of the respective leukaemia, e.g. acute leukaemia, chronic leukaemia, myeloid, lymphatic, is a hallmark of these two methods. As therapeutic options increase and precision medicine offers a lot of new drugs and increases cure rates, this is now more important than ever. The combination of phenotypical methods such as cytomorphology, flow and cytogenetics is known to be the backbone of any kind of leukaemia diagnostics. In addition, an increasing number of molecular essays addressing specific genes or fusion genes are becoming state of the art today. Cases with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) in particular need a very quick diagnosis to start the correct treatment. This will eventually lead to a cure rate of over 90 per cent. Therefore, assays based on morphology and flow will guide subsequent methods such as molecular genetics addressing PML-RARA, which are possible by FISH and finally chromosomal analysis.