Myelodysplastic syndrome overview
You are at the center of everything we do at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Here, we surround you with a team of specialists who work together closely to provide expertly targeted, complete care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.
We guide you every step of the way, combining our deep clinical expertise in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) with a commitment to meet your unique needs.
Following the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the organization was renamed to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that also serves as UW Medicine's cancer program.
Why choose Fred Hutch for MDS treatment?
- Expert MDS diagnosis and care
Fred Hutch is recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation. Our patients receive state-of-the-art evaluation, using new tools to pinpoint your diagnosis and determine where you are in the spectrum of MDS. We’re a world leader in research to better understand and more effectively treat this group of diseases.
- Clear information about your options
Research shows that many people with MDS are not made aware of their prognosis and are not properly informed about the effectiveness of different treatment approaches if they receive care at a center that doesn't specialize in MDS, like Fred Hutch does. We strive to make sure you understand your condition and what to expect.
- Bone marrow transplant for MDS
The Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program consistently achieves higher-than-expected transplant survival rates. We have performed more bone marrow and stem cell transplants than any other institution in the world and are investigating novel transplant approaches to improve overall survival for people with MDS.
- NCI comprehensive cancer center
We are a comprehensive cancer center, a designation from the National Cancer Institute that reflects our scientific leadership and the depth and breadth of our research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Our doctors and scientists bring the same commitment to MDS and other blood-related diseases.
Alexes Harris was devastated when she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She was equally devastated to learn that as a woman of color, she didn’t have a bone marrow donor match.
I was diagnosed in 2010 with a myelodysplastic syndrome, also called MDS, which includes a number of diseases associated with the bone marrow. It quickly became evident that a bone marrow transplant would be my best option for survival.
When Joe Grojean was 45 years old, his life “couldn’t have been more perfect,” he said. He had a wonderful wife and happy marriage, terrific kids, and a job he loved. He worked as a health-and-safety specialist—an early responder to industrial accidents—for a company that was contracted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “I was part of a team I believed in. I’ve worked in the environmental, safety, and health industry for nearly 20 years,” he said.
In 2004 at age 50, Thais Murdoch was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a chronic bone marrow disease that affects blood-forming stem cells and leads to low levels of blood cells in the bloodstream. It started out as a mild disease for Thais, a physical therapist living in Miami, Florida.
Even though Sean Cryan was born with a blood disorder called thrombocytopathia-A, he never imagined that his 12-year-old daughter, Louisa, would be diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and that a few years later he would be diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease that often leads to AML.
Alec moved back to Seattle after receiving a second opinion at SCCA for his myelodysplastic syndrome diagnosis. He received a bone marrow transplant with his brother as the bone marrow donor and resided at Pete Gross House during the 100 days post-transplant.
MDS involves abnormal production of blood cells in your bone marrow. Fred Hutch offers comprehensive treatment from a team of experts who specialize in MDS and related diseases
Our doctors provide the full spectrum of MDS therapies, such as the growth factor erythropoietin, the medicines azacitidine (Vidaza) and decitabine (Dacogen), and chemotherapy for advanced disease. In addition, we offer promising new agents and bone marrow transplantation, the only treatment with the potential to cure MDS.
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
To give you access to the most innovative therapies, we unite the leading researchers and cancer specialists of both Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in MDS clinical studies not available everywhere.
There are many resources online for learning about your disease, as well as organizations that provide community and support for your cancer diagnosis. Health educators at the Fred Hutch Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.