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Cleveland Clinic selected to participate in National MDS Clinical Research Consortium

Thursday, June 7, 2012, Cleveland: Taussig Cancer Institute at Cleveland Clinic will participate in an unprecedented, six-institution consortium designed to conduct clinical trials and research to improve outcomes for patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Known as the MDS Clinical Research Consortium, the five-year, $16 million initiative is sponsored by the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation and supported by the Edward P. Evans Foundation.

This is the first privately funded MDS research consortium in the U.S. Mikkael Sekeres, M.D., M.S., Director of Taussig Cancer Institute's Leukemia Program, will co-chair the Consortium with Guillermo Garcia-Manero, M.D. of MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Consortium will fill a major gap in MDS-related clinical research by providing a new "critical mass" of dedicated institutions to support the evaluation of promising new therapies, epidemiological studies, and translational studies leading to new treatments and classifications for these diseases. It will also sponsor a yearly, dedicated MDS fellowship slot at each institution.

Centralized clinical operations (data collection and management, biostatistics, clinical trial accrual and supervision of research protocols) will be housed at Taussig Cancer Institute. The Consortium will be administered by the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation.

"This Consortium is the first clinical research network created to support the infrastructure that makes MDS clinical research happen by enabling the collaboration of the leading MDS centers is the U.S.," said Dr. Sekeres.

The other five participating institutions include Dana Farber Cancer Institute; MD Anderson Cancer Center; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute; Weill Medical College of Cornell University; and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

"One of the greatest challenges in research of rare diseases like MDS is having enough patients to conduct meaningful clinical trials. No single center can do it alone. This uniquely collaborative effort overcomes that barrier," said John Huber, Executive Director of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. "To have these six leading MDS research centers working together in this way is unprecedented."

Programs selected as part of the Consortium are based at U.S. academic medical centers that serve a high volume of MDS patients; that maintain a current and historical patient data base; and that have a current and retrospective MDS patient cohort of sufficient size to have a very significant track record of participation in MDS-related clinical trials.

MDS is a cancer of hematopoietic bone marrow stem cells akin to leukemia that inhibits the body's ability to produce healthy blood cells. It principally affects adults over the age of 60 years, and can be treated with chemotherapy, growth factor, or immuonomodulatory therapies. At present, the only cure is a bone marrow transplant.

Contact: Joe Milicia
Cleveland Clinic

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