Scientists close in on mystery surrounding dangerous blood syndromes
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IMAGE: This microscopic image of myeloid cells taken from a genetic mouse model shows signs of the blood disease MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes), which can lead to leukemia. Instead of the normal… view more 

Credit: Cincinnati Children’s

CINCINNATI – Scientists may be on the road to solving the mystery of a group of mostly incurable blood diseases called myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), which cause people to have immature, malfunctioning bone marrow cells that fuel a diverse set of health problems and can lead to leukemia.

MDS is linked to a number of different gene mutations and considered one of the most complex malignancies affecting blood-making hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow, according to Gang Huang, PhD, a cancer biologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He is lead investigator of a new study in the journal Cancer Discovery. It identifies a gene that in laboratory experiments fuels the biological processes that cause the different types of MDS that physicians see in patients.

“We know the genomes of MDS patients have recurrent mutations in different transcriptional, epigenetic and metabolic regulators, but the incidence of these mutations does not directly correspond to the disease when it occurs,” said Huang, a member of the

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