MDS Foundation Announces Two Young Investigator Awards Supporting New Treatment Strategies at the 14th International MDS Symposium

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The MDS Foundation, the largest international patient advocacy organization dedicated to finding a cure for myelodysplastic syndromes, has awarded two young investigators research grants at the 14th International MDS Symposium being held in Valencia Spain May 3-6, 2017. Over 1200 researchers, clinicians, and patients are attending the scientific meeting.

The MDS Foundation, the largest international patient advocacy organization dedicated to finding a cure for myelodysplastic syndromes, has awarded Dr. David Sallman (H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute) and Dr. Yoshihiro Hayashi (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center) the foundation’s young investigators awards. The grants were announced at the 14th International MDS Symposium being held in Valencia Spain May 3-6, 2017. Over 1200 researchers, clinicians, and patients are attending the scientific meeting.

Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a bone marrow failure disorder. MDS is primarily a disease of the elderly (most patients are older than age 65), but MDS can affect younger patients as well. Approximately 10-15,000 patients are diagnosed with MDS in the United States each year. Low blood cell counts are the hallmark feature of MDS and are responsible for the symptoms that MDS patients experience — fatigue, shortness of breath, infection, spontaneous bleeding, or easy bruising. Additionally, approximately 30% of patients with MDS will develop acute leukemia.

Dr. Sallman’s research focuses on understanding genetic changes within the abnormal MDS bone marrow to identify new targets for treatment. His award winning project involves MDS patients with the TP53 mutation, which represents a patient group with the most inferior survival and a lack of treatment options. The grant will support a multi-institution study of the experimental compound, APR-246, which specifically reverses the effects of the TP53 mutation. “My hope is that the combination of APR-246 with azacitidine in MDS patients with TP53 mutation will be a promising therapeutic option, leading to TP53 clonal eradication and improved survival.”

Dr. Hayashi’s research has identified HIF1A signaling as a central mediator of MDS. HIF1A is a critical regulator for many physiologic pathways and appears to be malfunctioning among patients with MDS. His award winning project confirmed the importance of HIF1A signaling as a potential cause of MDS in mouse models. “The goal of this project is to uncover the significance of HIF1A for the pathogenesis of MDS and validate HIF1A as a therapeutic target for MDS. I believe that our current research will make significant impact on future translational research and clinical treatments.”

About MDS Foundation:

The MDS Foundation, Inc. (MDSF) is an international organization devoted to the support and education of patients and healthcare providers with innovative research in the fields of MDS and related myeloid neoplasms in order to accelerate progress leading to the control and cure of these diseases. By building an international community of physicians, nurses, researchers, and patients, the MDSF will make potentially curative therapies available for all patients. Over a half-million individuals visited the MDSF website or participated in live patient forums to gain information about MDS in 2016. Over $300,000 in research funds have been distributed to young investigators over the past 5 years to advance scientific knowledge and 174 MDS Foundation Centers of Excellence for treatment and research have been established.

Headquartered in Yardville NJ the MDSF is a publicly supported organization, exempt from federal income tax under section 501(C)(3) of the IRS code. http://www.mds-foundation.org

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Tracey Iraca
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