Articles tagged with: MDS Foundation

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[ by | Jul 2, 2013 2:20 pm | Comments Off ]

Italian Study Supports Use Of Revised International Prognostic Scoring Sys­tem – Results of a recent Italian study show that the Revised International Prog­nostic Scoring System (IPSS-R) has significantly higher predictive power for leukemia-free and overall survival in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients than the older International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) and the World Health Organization classification-based Prognostic Scoring System (WPSS).  The Italian study compared the predicted outcomes of 380 MDS patients as de­ter­mined by the IPSS-R, IPSS, and WPSS with their actual survival outcomes to determine which prognostic scoring system best predicted survival.  The origi­nal IPSS was developed in 1997 as a tool to predict survival outcomes among MDS patients based on their chro­mo­som­al abnormalities, percentage of immature stem cells (blasts), and num­ber of low blood cell counts. The IPSS-R uses the same set of parameters as the original IPSS, but in­cludes five rather than three categories of chromosomal abnormalities, as well as new cutoff values for blasts and blood cell counts. For more information, please see the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (abstract).

Donated, Virus-Specific White Blood Cells Effective For Severe Viral Infections After Donor Trans­plan­ta­tion – Results of a recent study show that donated t-cells, a type of white blood cell, can be used to treat severe viral infections in patients who have undergone donor stem cell trans­plan­ta­tion.  During the study, virus-specific t-cells were collected from individuals who were immune to certain viral infections. The do­nated t-cells were then used to treat a total of 50 patients who had undergone a donor stem cell trans­plant and then developed a severe viral in­fec­tion.  In 74 percent of the cases, the donated t-cell treat­ment led to either a partial or complete elimination of the viral infection.  According to the researchers, the treatment was well tolerated; there were no infusion-related side effects, and only 4 percent of the patients developed graft-versus-host disease after the t-cell infusions.  Graft-versus-host disease is a com­pli­ca­tion that arises when donor cells identify the recipient cells as foreign and attack them. For more information, please the study in the journal Blood (full text).

Free Educational MDS Webcast – The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation (AA&MDSIF) will host a free webinar on July 11 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.  Dr. Laura Michaelis from the Loyola University Medi­cal Center will speak about new diagnostic procedures and prognostic models and their usefulness in re­fin­ing and tailoring treatments to individual MDS patients’ needs.  In addition, Dr. Michaelis will discuss new treatments for MDS and which patients may respond best to certain treatments.  The webcast will con­clude with a question and answer session.  For more information or to register, please see the AA&MDSIF web­site.

Free Conference For MDS Patients And Their Families In Chicago – The MDS Foundation will host a free one-day conference for MDS patients and their families in Chicago on July 13. Dr. Jamile Shammo from the Rush University Medical Center will speak about a variety of MDS-related topics. The conference will run from 9:30 a.m. till 2 p.m., and complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served. For more information or to register, please see the MDS Foundation website.

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[ by | Mar 13, 2013 4:48 pm | Comments Off ]

VEGF May Be Associated With Blood Transfusion Dependency – Results of a recent Italian study indicate that high levels of the protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are associated with an increased risk of blood transfusion dependency in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients. VEGF is a protein that promotes the growth of new blood vessels. However, VEGF can also support the growth and survival of cancer cells, including blood cancer cells. Many cancer patients, including MDS patients, have increased amounts of VEGF in their body. VEGF levels also appear to impact how long it takes MDS patients to progress to leukemia and overall survival. For more information, please see the study in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology (abstract).

Vfend May Be Effective And Safe For The Prevention Of Fungal Infections In Certain MDS Patients – Results of a recent retrospective study conducted at the Mayo Clinic indicate that Vfend (voriconazole) may effectively and safely prevent serious fungal infections in MDS patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy. The study involved a total of 165 MDS and acute myeloid leukemia patients with low white blood cell counts who were given Vfend to prevent infection.  Among these patients, 15 percent developed signs of a fungal infection, and about half these cases were eventually classified as either proven or probable cases of infection. Treatment with Vfend had to be halted at some point in half the patients due to infection, fever, or Vfend-related side effects.  Based on the results of the study, the researchers judge Vfend to be a safe and potentially beneficial treatment for the prevention of serious fungal infection. For more information, please see the study in the American Journal of Hematology (abstract).

Free Conference For MDS Patients And Their Families In Portland, Oregon – The MDS Foundation will host a free one-day conference for MDS patients and their families in Portland, OR, on March 23.  Dr. Gabrielle Meyers from the Knight Cancer Institute at the Oregon Health & Science University will speak about a variety of MDS-related topics. The conference will start at 9 a.m., and complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served. For more information, please see the MDS Foundation website.

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[ by | Jan 14, 2013 2:53 pm | Comments Off ]

Certain Precursor Cells May Predict Survival After Donor Stem Cell Trans­planta­tion – A Japanese study indicates that the relative number of ‘hemato­gones,’ which are benign precursor cells that develop into white blood cells, in a patient’s bone marrow may predict survival after donor stem cell trans­planta­tion in patients with certain blood cancers, including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).  For each patient in their retrospective study, the Japanese researchers measured the number of hematogones and certain other blood cells in samples of the patient’s bone marrow.  They then compared the number of hematogones to the total number of two types of white blood cells: lymphocytes and mono­cytes.   Patients with hemato­gone counts that were five percent or higher of the total lymphocyte and monocyte counts had significantly prolonged relapse-free and overall survival times. In addition, these patients were less likely to develop severe acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Acute GVHD is a common transplant-related complication that occurs within 100 days after the transplant. The researchers speculated that the lower rate of severe acute GVHD may have contributed to the improved survival. For more information, please see the study in the journal Blood (abstract).

MDS Patient Support Group Meeting In New York City – On January 26, The MDS Foundation will hold the first New York City MDS patient support group meeting at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. The meeting will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include a presentation from hematology / oncology nurse practitioner Sandra Kurtin. Registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact the MDS Foundation.

Free Conference For MDS Patients And Their Families In Florida – The MDS Foundation also will host a free one-day conference for MDS patients and their families in Gainesville, FL, on February 23. Dr. Chris­topher Cogle from the University of Florida will speak about a variety of MDS-related topics. The conference will start at 9 a.m., and a complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served. For more information or to register, please see the MDS Foundation website.

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[ by | Oct 9, 2012 3:39 pm | Comments Off ]

Direction Of HLA Mismatch Does Not Affect Outcome Of Cord Blood Transplantation – Results of a retrospective study conducted in Japan indicate that the direction of an HLA mismatch does not affect outcomes after mismatched cord blood transplantation. HLA are proteins found on the surface of cells. Each person has a number of sets of these HLA proteins. It is important for a certain set of these HLA proteins to match between patient and donor, or else the risk of the patients’ cells and the donor cells attacking each other increases. Specifically, the Japanese researchers found that a mismatch only in the graft-versus-host direction (donor has two identical HLA proteins in a set but the patient has one that matches and one that does not) or only in the host-versus-graft direction (patient has two identical HLA proteins in a set but the donor has one that matches and one that does not) did not affect overall survival. Unrelated cord blood transplantation may be used as an alternative treatment for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia for whom an unrelated matching donor for stem cell transplantation cannot be found. For more information, see the study in the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (abstract).

Phase 2 Study To Investigate Three-Drug Combo For Lung GVHD – A Phase 2 study will investigate the efficacy and safety of Flovent (fluticasone propionate), azithromycin (Zithromax), and montelukast sodium (Singulair) in patients with graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) in the lungs. GHVD is a serious transplant-related complication in which the donor cells recognize the patient’s cells as foreign and attack them. The trial, which is taking place at treatment centers across the United States, is open to patients who had a bone marrow, stem cell, or umbilical cord transplant and who where diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans in the past three months. For more information, please see the clinical trial description.

Free Conference For MDS Patients And Their Families In Boston – On October 13, the MDS Foundation will host a free one-day conference for MDS patients and their families in Boston. Dr. David Steensma from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who also writes a quarterly column for The MDS Beacon, will talk about a variety of MDS-related topics. The conference will start at 9 a.m.; complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served. For more information, please see the MDS Foundation website.

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[ by | May 31, 2012 10:12 am | Comments Off ]

RPL23 Protein May Be A Prognostic Factor In MDS – Results of a Chinese study show that the protein RPL23 may be a prognostic factor in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). RPL23 is a protein that regulates cell death. Specifically, the Chinese researchers found that MDS patients with elevated levels of RPL23 were more likely to progress to acute myeloid leukemia and less likely to be alive two years after diagnosis. The researchers also found higher levels of RPL23 in higher-risk patients then in lower-risk patients. For more information, please see the study in the Annals of Hematology (abstract).

Personalized Busulfan Dosing May Be Feasible For MDS – Results of a small Japanese Phase 2 trial indicate that personalized doses of busulfan (Busulfex) in combination with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) are feasible in MDS patients preparing for donor stem cell transplantation. In this study, patients received 1.0 mg/kg of busulfan during the first six cycles.  Dosing was then adjusted in the subsequent 10 treatment cycles to reach a targeted concentration in the blood of 700 to 900 μg/L. The busulfan dose was increased in 12 percent of patients and reduced in 64 percent of patients. The one-year overall survival rate was 65 percent, and the one-year transplant-related death rate was 18 percent; the investigators described both rates as favorable. For more information, please see the study in the journal Cancer Science (abstract).

Free Conference For MDS Patients And Their Families – On June 16, the MDS Foundation will host a free one-day conference for MDS patients and their families in Pittsburgh. Dr. James M. Rossetti from the Western Pennsylvania Cancer Institute in Pittsburgh and nurse Sara Tinsley from Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa will talk about various MDS-related topics. The conference will start at 9 a.m.; complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served. For more information or to register, please see the MDS Foundation website.