Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Center  at UMass Memorial Health Care 

     Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a relatively uncommon disease, with only 15-20,000 new cases being diagnosed annually in the United States . As a result, no single hematologist sees a sufficient number of patients for conducting clinical trials or detailed molecular studies. Our group is unique in that through single-minded dedication to this field for the last two decades, we have built a National referral base for MDS treatment and research with a large enough patient population for meaningful clinical trials. Patients travel from all over the country to receive the latest and most cutting edge therapies for their MDS, and to participate in molecular and genetic studies of their bone marrows which sheds more light on their particular form of the disease and allows for individualized therapies. The result is that our group has been caring for 500-600 MDS patients annually for the past decade, making it the largest MDS Center in the country. Previously, this Center was located in Chicago, but now the entire Clinical and Basic Science program in MDS has re-located to the University of Massachusetts in Worcester. At the present time, a team of clinical and basic science researchers who have many years of experience in the study and treatment of MDS are working at UMass to develop more effective therapies. It is this vast experience that makes the MDS clinical and research programs at UMass so unique. Please see the specific clinical and research programs being offered. 

 

The Radhey Khanna Center for the study of natural substances in the prevention and treatment of MDS 

Cancer incidence in Asia is significantly lower than that in the United States. For example, the incidence of breast cancer in the  US is 660/million while in India, it is 79/million. India is a country where large numbers of people smoke, and where pollution control is far from ideal, yet the incidence of lung cancer is 30/million compared to 660/million in  America. One factor accounting for this lower incidence is related to diet which is rich in spices.  Garlic, onion, soy, turmeric, ginger, tomatoes, green tea and chilies that are the staples of Indian cooking have been shown to be associated with a lower risk of a variety of cancers ranging from colon, Gastro Intestinal tract, breast, leukemias and lymphomas. Mothers knew millennia ago that meat spoils quickly in hot weather, and their children died if fed such spoilt food. They learned to add spices to preserve the meat as a rich source of protein for their children. The exact mechanism by which these same spices also prevent the development of cancer is not precisely understood. The latest research suggests that these natural substances may not only be useful to prevent cancer development, but also to treat cancers. It is our contention that these innocuous substances will work best in early stages of cancers. In a sense, MDS can be regarded as an early stage of leukemia in a third of the patients at least, and in others, patients with low risk disease are also in an early phase. We already completed a study using the natural substance coenzyme Q10 in lower risk MDS patients, and reported some complete hematologic and cytogenetic responses. We now want to start a large-scale study of natural substances like Ginger and Curcumin to treat MDS patients, and also to study their mechanism of action by using the latest Microarray technologies. This approach combines the best of the East with the best of the West. We have been fortunate that Mr. Radhey Khanna has stepped forward to support our efforts with a generous donation. The Center is now active in the clinical and basic science studies.