Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of disorders that originate in the bone marrow and are caused by blood cells that are poorly formed or don’t function properly. In MDS, partially differentiated blood cells do not develop and mature into healthy platelets, red blood cells, or white blood cells. Since they remain immature, they do not function properly and die either in the blood marrow or shortly after entering the bloodstream. As a result, MDS eventually leads to a lack of healthy blood cells in your body.
Originally, myelodysplastic syndromes were regarded as preleukemic conditions, and they were only classified as distinct disorders in 1976. This is because in about 1 out of every 3 patients, myelodysplastic syndromes develop into acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a disease in which defective malignant blood cells grow uncontrollably. MDS is relatively rare among most age groups; however, in patients over 60, it is estimated that the incidence is between 20-50 per 100,000 people.
The number of MDS patients has grown significantly over the past few years, a fact attributed to the rising life expectancy around the world, and especially in Israel. To address this need, Sheba Medical Center, already recognized as an MDS Center of Excellence by the MDS Foundation, has decided to open its new MDS Treatment Center, dedicated to the research and treatment of the malignancy.
“The new center will provide hope for patients, ensure they receive optimal treatment, advance groundbreaking research, and promote international efforts aimed at raising awareness for the malignancy, improving its diagnosis, and developing new medications,” said Dr. Merkel, Head of Sheba’s new Myelodysplastic Syndrome Treatment Center.
According to Prof. Raanan Berger, Director of Sheba’s Cancer Center: “The new Myelodysplastic Syndrome Treatment Center will form an integral part of the Cancer Center’s activities. It applies the principles of personalized medicine and promotes Sheba’s philosophy of patient-centric healthcare.”
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