Improving Treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)
Dr. Mikkael Sekeres sat down with us in Miami to tell us about what he and his MDS colleagues are working on at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami.
Dr. Sekeres and his colleagues are working to figure out how to best define risk for MDS patients. When patients are first diagnosed, the risk category they are placed in tells both the patient and their care team a lot about their disease. The patients risk category, determined in part by the type of MDS the patient has and what mutations they have, is a major factor in determining how doctors and patients move forward and make decisions, so it’s no wonder this is such a hot topic right now.
Another area of work Dr. Sekeres talked to us about involves working with the FDA to define MDS trial endpoints. In clinical trials, the endpoints are like the goals we set for the drug. Making sure the goals for the drugs align with the treatment goals patients have is crucial to making sure patients are able to get what they need out of their MDS treatments.
They are also working on combination therapy options for MDS patients in an effort to improve blood counts.
Dr. Sekeres and those at the Sylvester Cancer Center, University of Miami are doing important work. We will be excitedly following their trials on new therapies and research into defining risk categories and clinical trial endpoints to see what’s next for the MDS community. Watch the video below to hear Dr. Sekeres talk about their research focus.
“A lot of the research that we do at the Sylvester Cancer Center, University of Miami focuses on better defining risk in myelodysplastic syndromes. Identifying what “stage” of MDS a person has more accurately can help us have a more informed discussion about prognosis with our patients at that very first or second meeting, and also make more informed choices about therapy.
We've also pioneered the use of combination therapies to treat myelodysplastic syndromes. So, for example, we have a clinical trial that's available right now where we're combining Lenalidomide and Luspatercept in lower-risk MDS patients hoping that we're able to help our patients have improved blood counts at a higher rate than they would with either of the therapies alone.
We're doing a lot of research and collaboration with the FDA to define endpoints in clinical trials. In other words, to work with the FDA to make sure that drugs that are approved for people with MDS actually reflect the goals of our patients, that they reflect the things that our patients care about most, that the drug can deliver for them and improve their lives.”
about the author
Mary joined HealthTree in 2022. She works as the AML/MDS Community & Education Manager. She is passionate about giving power to patients through knowledge and health education. If she can help one patient feel more confident participating in discussions with their healthcare team and making treatment decisions, she will feel like she has succeeded. When she isn't advocating for MDS patients, she loves being an aunt, attending concerts, and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen.