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New Medical Education Program Online Helps Physicians to Make The Diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

Düsseldorf, Germany (PRWEB) June 13, 2013

University Hospital Düsseldorf and the University Cancer Center Düsseldorf announced today the launch of a new medical education training portal that helps physicians to diagnose patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. This interactive online program is available to haematologists and qualified HCPs and offers over 50 patient cases, as well as expert lectures from the world’s leading authorities on myelodysplastic syndromes, the most frequent malignant stem cell disorder in the elderly.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of conditions that occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow are damaged, leading to ineffective blood production and abnormally low blood counts. Approximately 25% of patients with MDS will progress to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer of the white blood cells. People with MDS typically have low blood cell counts, which means they have very low levels of red blood cells (RBCs) (anemia), white blood cells (WBCs) (neutropenia), and/or platelets (thrombocytopenia). The incidence of MDS is thought to be between 3.5 to 12.6 per 100,000 population per year, with higher rates for people over 70 years of age.

“MDS can be difficult to diagnose because there are many different types of MDS and the signs and symptoms of MDS, if they are present, are non-specific,” says Dr. Ulrich Germing, the Vice Head of the Department of Haemotology, Oncology and Clinical Immunology at University Hospital Düsseldorf. “In addition, the list of differential diagnoses is long”. Professor Germing, who has co-authored more than 220 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, noted that “there is a clear need to educate physicians about tests that can be used to diagnose and classify MDS, as well as to predict outcomes and select appropriate treatment options.”

The new physician training portal,, provides two types of interactive courses on techniques used to diagnose and score, or predict long-term outcomes in MDS. In addition to in-depth training on specific diagnostic and prognostic techniques, the website offers interactive patient profiles that allow users to follow patients and see how various MDS techniques contribute to the final diagnosis of MDS. The MDS diagnosis site is also home to lectures by key opinion leaders and MDS experts on diagnostic techniques such as blood cell morphology, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), cytogenetic testing and molecular diagnostics.

“Currently, the diagnosis of MDS is often one of exclusion that is made only after ruling out other causes of ineffective blood cell production,” says Dr. John Bennett, M.D., founder of the MDS Foundation, editor of Leukemia Research, and professor emeritus, former head of medical oncology, and current attending haematopathologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, NY, USA. “Recent advances in the use of biomarkers to diagnose MDS and identify MDS that is likely to transform to AML are changing the way we diagnose and treat patients, making this new training portal an invaluable resource for haematologists and oncologists worldwide.”

The MDS Diagnosis website ( is available in four languages – English, German, French, and Spanish – and features a scientific committee comprised of leading authorities on MDS, including Doctors Germing and Bennett, as well as Dr. Francesc Sole, Professor Detlef Haase, Dr. Raphael Itzykson, Dr. Leonie Saft and Professor Dr. Arjan Van de Loosdrecht.

About the University Cancer Center Düsseldorf
The University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dusseldorf (CCC-UTZ Universitätstumorzentrum) is supported by the commitment of the Departments and clinics of the University Hospital Dusseldorf. The organ cancer centers in the UTZ offer special expertise and a comprehensive treatment clinic.

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