Radiation therapy is not currently used for treating MDS, or myelodysplastic syndromes. MDS is a term used to describe a group of diverse bone marrow disorders that can occur when the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. Healthy bone marrow produces immature blood cells (stem cells or blasts) that normally develop into mature, fully functional red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. MDS can interfere with blast development and cause blasts to accumulate in the bone marrow or shorten their life span, resulting in a shortage of healthy blood cells in circulation. Because the unhealthy cells circulate throughout the body and radiation therapy can only target one specific area at a time, radiation therapy is impractical for MDS treatment.
The renowned research team in the Malignant Hematology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center is continually evaluating promising new treatment options for MDS, such as the use of antibodies to deliver radioactive materials specifically to cancer-causing cells. Specifically, for treating MDS, this means delivering radiation therapy to the unhealthy cells in the bone marrow. This type of targeted radiotherapy can potentially:
- Allow physicians to administer more powerful doses of radiation precisely where it is needed to destroy cancerous cells
- Minimize radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue
- Allow patients to receive a lower-dose conditioning regimen prior to stem cell transplantation, which can potentially cause milder side effects than the standard, high-dose course of chemotherapy
At Moffitt, our multispecialty team of experts offers a complete range of treatments for MDS, from stem cell transplantation and chemotherapy to biological therapies and blood transfusions, as well as innovative options that are currently available only through our clinical trials. Individualized recommendations are made for each patient, and weekly reviews are conducted by our program’s tumor board to ensure the best possible outcomes. Furthermore, a complete range of supportive care services are available to enhance each patient’s quality of life.
If you’d like to learn more about the promising new radiation therapy options for MDS, the experts at Moffitt can provide information about our active clinical trials. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.