Genetic testing helps predict disease recurrence in myelodysplastic syndrome
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IMAGE: A DNA-based analysis of blood cells soon after a stem cell transplant can predict likelihood of disease recurrence in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of cancerous disorders characterized… view more 

Credit: Matt Miller

A DNA-based analysis of blood cells soon after a stem cell transplant can predict likelihood of disease recurrence in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of cancerous disorders characterized by dysfunctional blood cells, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Such a practice could help doctors identify patients at high risk of disease recurrence early after a transplant and help guide treatment decisions.

The study is published Sept. 13 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“The way doctors usually monitor the severity of this cancer is by looking at the blood cells under a microscope and deciding what percentage of them appear abnormal — it’s very subjective,” said senior author Matthew J. Walter, MD, a professor of medicine. “A genetic analysis is a much more precise method of measuring how many blood cells are cancerous. It also lets us find abnormal cells at earlier time points after a stem cell transplant, when there are fewer

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