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Newsstand

Here's where you'll find a regularly updated, broad range of articles written by the AAMDSIF team, allied health organizations and news organizations. By staying well-informed, patients and families are practicing a form of self-support that will help them be more effective self-advocates when engaging with health care providers.

Gene Mutations in Aplastic Anemia

Originally Published: 01/12/2015
Note: This review is based upon a presentation at the 2014 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, December 6 - 9 in San Francisco, CA.The full abstract may be reviewed on the ASH Annual Meeting Web site.  Tetsuichi Yoshizato, M.D.; Bogdan Dumitriu, M.D.; Kohei Hosokawa, M.D., Ph.D.; Hideki Makishima, M.D., Ph.D.; Kenichi Yoshida, M.D., Ph.D.; Aiko Sato, Ph.D.; Yusuke Okuno, M.D., Ph.D.; Keisuke Kataoka, M.D., Ph.D.; Kenichi Chiba, Ph.D.; Hiroko Tanaka, Yuichi Shiraishi, Ph.D.; Yasunobu Nagata, M.D., Ph.D.; Hiromichi Suzuki, M.D.; Yusuke Sato, M.D.; Yusuke Shiozawa, M.D.;...

Immune System Suppression and Bone Marrow Failure

Originally Published: 01/12/2015
Note: This review is based upon a presentation at the 2014 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, December 6 - 9 in San Francisco, CA.The full abstract may be reviewed on the ASH Annual Meeting Web site.  Neal S. Young, M.D.; Bogdan Dumitriu, M.D.; and Seishi Ogawa, M.D., Ph.D. SCI-21: Acquired Aplastic Anemia:  New Genetics, New Genomics T lymphocytes are white blood cells that help protect the body from infection. In aplastic anemia, T lymphocytes destroy both immature blood cells and cells that form blood cells. Treatments that suppress the immune system (...

Role of microRNAs in Aplastic Anemia

Originally Published: 01/12/2015
Note: This review is based upon a presentation at the 2014 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, December 6 - 9 in San Francisco, CA.The full abstract may be reviewed on the ASH Annual Meeting Web site.  Kohei Hosokawa, M.D., Ph.D.; Pawel Muranski, M.D.; Xingmin Feng, Ph.D.; Keyvan Keyvanfar; Danielle M. Townsley, M.D.; Bogdan Dumitriu, M.D.; Jichun Chen, Ph.D.; Sachiko Kajigaya, Ph.D.; James G. Taylor, M.D.; Christopher S. Hourigan, M.D., Ph.D.; John Barrett, M.D.; and Neal S. Young, M.D.   Abstract 2940: Altered microRNAs in T cells from Patients with Acquired Aplastic...

Recent developments in myelodysplastic syndromes

Originally Published: 11/17/2014
Research Review: The myelodysplastic syndromes are now recognized as one of the most common blood cancers, affecting >30,000 patients per year in the United States.  Although 3 drugs were approved for MDS between the years 2004 – 2006 (azacitidine, decitabine, and lenalidomide), none of these are curative.  In addition, no new drugs have been approved in the last 8 years.  Newer laboratory and genomic research may help to shift this paradigm.  Scientists are now working to better understand how patients get MDS, how we can improve diagnostic accuracy, and how we can refine our prognostic...

"Moderate" dose cyclophosphamide for severe aplastic anemia has significant toxicity and does not prevent relapse and clonal evolution

Originally Published: 10/15/2014
The majority of patients diagnosed with aplastic anemia are treated with immunosuppressive therapy (IST) because they either lack a compatible sibling donor or are too old for hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Approximately two thirds of patients successfully respond to IST with horse anti-thymocyte globulin (h-ATG) and cyclosporine. Despite various efforts to improve IST results, horse ATG plus cyclosporine is still the regimen with better outcomes and is thus the standard treatment. Treatment limitations remain in up to one-third of patients who fail IST, but also one-third of responders...

Dr. Vivienne Rebel reports on a study of the relationship between gene mutations and overall survival after stem cell transplant

Originally Published: 10/01/2014
Clinical parameters, such as blast counts and platelet counts, are important indicators of the severity of MDS and thus can help doctors decide on what treatment plan to follow.  Recent studies have shown that specific genetic abnormalities (e.g. mutations in genes called TP53, NRAS and Runx1) have similar predictive value.  The current study was undertaken to test whether specific gene mutations could also be used to identify patient group(s) that would benefit from a blood-stem cell transplantation.  This is an important question since the five-year survival rate of this type of intense...

Dr. Vivienne Rebel reviews a recent study about p53 protein levels as a prognostic factor in MDS

Originally Published: 09/30/2014
Patients with a subtype of MDS that is characterized by a molecular signature showing a deletion of the long arm of chromosome 5 - or (del)5q MDS - were traditionally considered to have a good prognosis compared to patients with other subtypes of MDS.  However, recent DNA sequencing studies have shown that if the 5q deletion is accompanied by a mutation in the p53 gene (the official name of this gene in TP53), there is a significantly increased risk for leukemic progression, which carries a poor prognosis.  The increased risk was clear even if the number of cells showing this mutation was...

Initial transfusion dependence predicts survival in myelodysplastic syndrome

Originally Published: 09/03/2014
Anemia and the requirement for transfusions are major clinical problems in patients with MDS. Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion requirement has been incorporated in several “scoring systems” allowing clinicians to predict overall survival and determine best treatment modalities for their patients. RBC transfusion dependence could contribute to poor prognostic risk by several mechanisms. It could simply be an indicator of poor bone marrow function as part of the presenting feature of the patient’s MDS. While necessary, transfusions themselves could pose a risk to the patient, for example due...

Iron Overload and MDS

Originally Published: 08/20/2014
Anemia, having low number of red blood cells (RBC), affects 80% of patients with MDS, with a substantial majority becoming dependent on transfusions to keep their counts up during their disease course. While RBC transfusions help improve anemia-related symptoms and quality of life for MDS patients, it can come at a price of iron deposition in the body over a short period of time. The amount of iron in a single RBC transfusion is the same as 1,280 cups of cooked spinach. The buildup of iron in the body begins early on in the disease process, even before there is need for RBC transfusions. It...

The Challenging World of Cytopenias: Distinguishing Myelodysplastic Syndromes From Other Disorders of Marrow Failure.

Originally Published: 07/31/2014
Research Review: Low blood counts can be attributed to several different medical conditions.  Distinguishing myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) from other bone marrow failure disorders can be challenging; however, it is important in the determination of prognosis and treatment.  The use of molecular markers has become increasingly useful in making this distinction. Key-Findings: After benign causes of low blood counts, such as vitamin deficiencies, are excluded, the first step in a suspected bone marrow failure disorder is to examine the peripheral blood smear and perform a bone marrow...