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Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) linked to abnormal stem cells
Date:7/1/2012

July 2, 2012 -- (Bronx, NY) -- Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that abnormal bone marrow stem cells drive the development of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), serious blood diseases that are common among the elderly and that can progress to acute leukemia. The findings could lead to targeted therapies against MDS and prevent MDS-related cancers. The study is published today in the online edition of the journal Blood.

"Researchers have suspected that MDS is a 'stem cell disease,' and now we finally have proof," said co-senior author Amit Verma, M.B.B.S., associate professor of medicine and of developmental and molecular biology at Einstein and attending physician in oncology at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care. "Equally important, we found that even after MDS standard treatment, abnormal stem cells persist in the bone marrow. So, although the patient may be in remission, those stem cells don't die and the disease will inevitably return. Based on our findings, it's clear that we need to wipe out the abnormal stem cells in order to improve cure rates."

MDS are a diverse group of incurable diseases that affect the bone marrow and lead to low numbers of blood cells. While some forms of MDS are mild and easily managed, some 25 to 30 percent of cases develop into an aggressive disease called acute myeloid leukemia. Each year, about 10,000 to 15,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with MDS, according to the

Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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