What is MDS?
An aggressive, prolonged and increasingly
prevalent blood cancer
AGGRESSIVE & PROLONGED: From nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath to bleeding disorders and frequent infections – MDS is a cluster of haematological malignancies causing a wide range of grueling symptoms. 40% of MDS patients are categorized as high or very high risk and receive a survival prognosis of around 2 years (1)1.Cancer.org. MDS is often referred to as “pre-leukemia” – a third of patients go onto develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML). MDS attacks the elderly:
PREVALENT: MDS is growing increasingly prevalent due to a rising elderly population, combined with slowly improving treatment (3)3. US National Library of Medicine 2017, Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Acute Myeloid Leukemia in the Elderly over recent decades. In 2019, there were 238,000 cases worldwide, forecast to increase to 313,500 cases by 2028 (4)4. Datamonitor MDS Spotlight Nov 2020.
…BUT WITH A CHALLENGING FIRST-LINE TREATMENT: However, the first-line treatment for MDS – Azacitidine (commercial name Vidaza) – remains uncomfortable, inconvenient and demanding for predominantly elderly patients.
They must make daily visits to their nearest infusion clinic for one week every 28-day treatment cycle, spending a total of around 30 hours in-clinic per cycle. Injections need to be carefully monitored, with an approx. 2-hour recuperation period after each. Azacitidine requires complete blood counts to be carried out before and after each treatment cycle, to monitor response and toxicity. Strong anti-emetics are routinely administered before injections to treat the nausea and vomiting that are common side effects.