Many patients at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center receive promising therapies by taking part in clinical trials. These research studies are done by physician-scientists from both Fred Hutch and UW Medicine. They test new treatments or new ways to use current treatments.
Every advance in cancer treatment in recent years has come out of clinical trials. We offer more active clinical trials than anywhere else, which means more treatment options for patients like you.
Most people with MDS receive treatment through clinical studies, also called clinical trials, because these offer a way to get the latest promising therapies. Access to clinical studies by researchers at both Fred Hutch and UW Medicine is one reason many patients come to us for care.
Your doctor can identify clinical trials that match your circumstances and talk with you about whether and how to participate. If you are eligible for a trial, we strongly recommend considering this option.
Agents that showed promise in pilot studies and are being tested in clinical studies may include:
- Azacitidine given by mouth
- Clofarabine (Clofarex, Clolar) given by mouth
- Decitabine given by mouth
- Rigosertib (Estybon)
- Venetoclax (Venclexta)
- Vorinostat (Zolinza)
- Different combinations of chemotherapy agents
- Different transplant regimens, such as radiolabeled BC8 (anti-CD45), which is an experimental transplant conditioning agent, and the chemotherapy medicine treosulfan
Doctors are also working on studies to:
- Determine whether immune cells in a person with MDS can be modified so they will attack and kill the MDS cells (a type of immunotherapy)
- Understand the chain of events that leads to severe MDS, with the hope of finding an agent that blocks one or more of these events to at least stabilize the disease
At Fred Hutch, researchers are also using antibodies to deliver radiation specifically to disease-causing cells. This lets doctors get more powerful doses of radiation where it’s needed to destroy the disease, while sparing most healthy tissue. People who receive targeted radiotherapy may be able to have low-dose transplant conditioning, which tends to cause milder side effects. This combination was first used successfully in high-risk MDS patients here who had no other curative options.
Our researchers are working on a number of other topics related to MDS, such as:
- How to identify subtypes of MDS more precisely, come up with more specific treatments and match each patient with the most effective medicines
- What the best approach is for people who receive a bone marrow transplant, including chemotherapy intensity and transplant timing
- What causes MDS, including whether changes in blood stem cells that occur naturally with age can provide clues and whether environmental factors play a role
Find open clinical trials for MDS at Fred Hutch, and visit our Patient Guide to Clinical Trials to learn about participating.