New research project for better diagnosis and treatment of severe anemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.
A new, large European study (MDS-RIGHT) will be started to clarify the genetic and epigenetic origins of disturbed blood formation in elderly people and to determine optimal treatment. The project will be implemented in 17 countries. It will be coordinated by a core team from the Radboudumc consisting of Dr. Gerwin Huls and Dr. Corine van Marrewijk, Dept. of Hematology, Prof. Theo de Witte, Dept. of Tumorimmunology, Dr. Martijn Gerretsen, Dept. of Valorisation and Dr. Bert van der Reijden and Prof. Joop Jansen, Dept. of Laboratory Medicine. The European Union will subsidize this project with 6 million Euros from the Horizon 2020 program.
One of the most frequent types of blood cancer in people above the age of 60 is the myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). This disease originates by genetic damage in blood-forming stem cells in the bone-marrow. As a result, insufficient mature, functionally active blood cells are produced leading to anemia, infections and bleeding. In a subset of patients the disease progresses to acute leukemia. Defective blood formation may also originate from other causes. About one third of people above the age of 80 suffer from anemia. Currently, the underlying cause often remains unknown. Recent investigations have shown that part of these patients in fact carry genetic mutations, and should be diagnosed with (a pre-stage) of MDS. Several treatment options for MDS do exist, but it is still largely unknown which patients would benefit most from particular forms of treatment
In the new research project MDS RIGHT hematologists, molecular biologists, biostatisticians, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians and medical scientists from 16 European countries will cooperate to unravel the (epi)genetic causes of MDS and anemia in elderly people. In addition, the impact of treatment on the life expectancy and quality of life in patients with MDS with different genetic defects will be assessed. More than 1600 MDS patients and 500 healthy individuals will participate in this study. The research is led by researchers from the Departments of Hematology, Tumor Immunology and Laboratory Medicine at the Radboudumc.
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