New research shows stem cell transplant represents the best therapeutic approach for older individuals with myelodysplastic syndrome. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCPC explains more.
Read Related Article>> new research in a pre leukemia state called myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, proves that stem cell transplantation represents the best therapeutic approach for older individuals considered high risk. According to Dana Farber Cancer Institute's Dr Corey Cutler. What we were able to find Was that there was about a 22% absolute improvement in overall survival in subjects who had a donor identified at the time of their initial enrollment. Dr. Cutler is the senior author on the research paper published in the journal of clinical oncology. The large study looked at 384 people diagnosed with Mds. Two thirds of them were matched with a donor for a stem cell transplant, which is considered curative and 1/3 received other non curative treatment options. The study is notable because historically Medicare and Medicaid have not covered stem cell transplants for this patient population because of the risks involved, it's never before been proven that a transplant is the best approach given the age and underlying health conditions of the patient populations. MDS is usually diagnosed When someone is in their late 60s or early 70s. This is important because there is a thought that subjects who undergo transplantation have worse quality of life than those subjects who don't. In fact, the opposite was found. DR Cutler says the patients who received a transplant reported their quality of life was at least as good as and in some cases better than those that did not receive a transplant dR. Cutler says that taken with the improved overall survival suggest transplant should be an option in older individuals who have high risk mds. We actually are now having discussions with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and we're hopeful that in the coming months they will actually reverse their decision on coverage and payment for transplant for this disorder, which is fairly common among older individuals.