Dr. Ellen Ritchie recently participated in an OncLive discussion on the latest modifications to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS). WHO classification is the standard diagnostic system utilized by medical institutions worldwide, including here at Weill Cornell Medicine. Recent advances in our understanding of the biological course of MDS have warranted revision to its WHO classification, which was last updated in 2008. In particular, mutational and cytogenetic analyses have to led to refinement of diagnostic terms for MDS. These modifications include a distinction between single versus multilineage dysplasia and elimination of the term “cytopenia.”
The OncLive discussion centered on implications of the new classification on the prognosis and treatment of MDS. While the WHO classification is just one of many factors to consider when evaluating the prognosis of the disorder, the panelists agree that the new modifications will make it easier to determine an appropriate course of treatment for their patients. To learn more, click here or watch the video below.
This clinical study is aimed at men and women with a diagnosis of: Chronic Neutrophilic Leukemia (CNL), Chronic Myelomonocytic Leuekmia (CMML), atypical Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (aCML), Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML), and Myelodysplastic & Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Unclassifiable (MDS/MPN-U). Click here to learn more or see if you are eligible to participate.
Six Top Medical Institutions Launch Research Alliance Program to ‘CRUSH MDS’, a Rare Form of Blood CancerPosted: March 9, 2016
Joint Effort Expands Experts’ Capacity to Develop Treatments, Find a Cure
Ex-marine Kevin Chambers had always been a strong and powerfully built man. The retired 66-year-old Vietnam War veteran used to work as a professional bodyguard in New York City, providing personal security for major celebrities like Michael Jackson, James Cagney and Barbra Streisand. Last year, Chambers needed a wheelchair and a walker just to get around.
“I got sick in 2014 and felt so strange and weak in so many ways,” said Chambers. After being initially diagnosed with severe anemia along with two other conditions, later test results showed he had atypical myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a life-threatening bone marrow failure disease. Thanks to his daughter, an editor at ABC’s Good Morning America, Chambers was referred to Dr. Gail Roboz, the specialist who treated the show’s co-anchor Robin Roberts for MDS.
Roboz is with the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, one of the six preeminent institutions that form the MDS Clinical Research Consortium (MDS CRC). The others include the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
The MDS CRC was created with a grant from the Edward P. Evans Foundation. Suffering from MDS himself, philanthropist Evans was determined to speed up drug development by minimizing excessive “red tape” in clinical research. The CRC is the first collaboration of its kind, and its investigators lead unique, high-quality clinical and laboratory studies aimed at improving the lives of MDS patients. It recently launched a website with a public initiative called the Clinical Repository to Understand, Study and Heal Myelodysplastic Syndromes, otherwise known as CRUSH!!MDS.
The consortium works to accelerate and amplify the research conducted at these leading cancer centers. The beneficiaries are patients like Kevin Chambers, who Dr. Roboz quickly involved in a clinical trial. With careful monitoring of his blood cell counts and reactions to drugs, she was able to customize his care with precision treatments that were regularly adjusted based on his progress.
One year later, Chambers is walking again and his strength has vastly improved. He used to need a blood transfusion every two weeks. Now his transfusions are five weeks apart. He jokes that when he has enough blood, he doesn’t even need to nap. “I work very closely with Dr. Roboz and, if I don’t follow what she says, she kind of gives me hell by thanking me for my medical opinion.” That toughness combined with constant attention to the clinical data is how the specialists CRUSH MDS. For more information visit crushmds.org.
Press release originally posted on AAMDS March 2, 2016
Seeking Research Volunteers
Predicting Response To Your Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) Treatment
Azacitidine (Vidaza®) and decitabine (Dacogen®) are FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of MDS. While these drugs help many patients with MDS, sometimes patients who initially respond to these drugs eventually lose their response. Why? Why do the drugs stop working? MDS-CRC investigators are trying to answer this question. Through CRUSH!!MDS, we are recruiting patients who have not responded or lost their initial response to azacitidine or decitabine. Patients will be able to have blood drawn at the time of a routine visit to their local doctor and we will arrange for the blood to be delivered to Weill Cornell Medical College, at no cost to the patient. At Weill Cornell, the blood will be analyzed in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Scandura, M.D.
For more information about the study and the CRUSH!!MDS initiative, please visit our website.
Watch Dr. Gail Roboz’s appearance on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts, where she discusses bone marrow transplants for leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). She also mentions CRUSH!!MDS http://www.crushmds.org/, a comprehensive clinical database initiated by Dr Roboz, M.D. on behalf of the MDS Clinical Research Consortium. The segment with Dr. Roboz starts with 4 minutes left in the video, which can be seen via this link. Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC