• Myelodysplastic Syndrome Specialty Program

    Located in Boston, MA, the Myelodysplastic Syndrome Specialty Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has the expertise to diagnose and treat all subtypes of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), including low-grade and high-grade forms of the disease. We are one of the most experienced programs in the world at treating children with MDS, offering specialized diagnostic and treatment options that include stem cell transplant.

    Our program was recently awarded the “Center of Excellence” from the MDS Foundation - the only large pediatric center in the country awarded this designation.

    How We Diagnose & Treat MDS

    MDS is often more difficult to diagnose than other bone marrow failure disorders. Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is one of only a few centers in the country with hematopathologists specifically trained to diagnose these disorders in children. We offer rapid and accurate diagnostic testing for various hematologic disorders through our advanced testing facility. Our doctors use a variety of tests to diagnose MDS, including blood tests, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, chromosomal analysis, and the newest genetic tests, which can help distinguish MDS from other bone marrow failure conditions, and certain forms of leukemia.

    In almost all instances, children with MDS can be cured only through a bone marrow transplant, in which healthy bone marrow cells from another person are given through an infusion to the patient to restore bone marrow that was previously damaged. Children may also receive transfusions of red blood cells and platelets to improve symptoms and prevent bleeding. Chemotherapy, which is used to treat leukemia, is not typically useful for MDS, but is sometimes used to prepare children with MDS for a bone marrow transplant.

    Our Treatment Teams

    Dana-Farber/Boston Children's patients have access to the broadest set of pediatric specialists available. The breadth of our expertise allows us to assemble a team of specialists to meet the specific needs of each patient.

    At the core of our treatment team are pediatric hematologists with expertise in MDS and bone marrow failure and pathologists with specialized training in pediatric hematopathology, as well as pediatric oncologists, geneticists and nurse practitioners.  Many of our physicians are also active researchers, so our patients have access to the very best and up-to-date treatments available.

    Research & Clinical Trials

    At Dana-Farber/Boston Children's, our clinicians and researchers constantly strive to understand why MDS occurs and to develop new treatments. Through our Stem Cell Transplant Center and the Fanconi Anemia and Bone Marrow Failure Clinic, our patients have access to clinical trials addressing the newest scientific discoveries related to pediatric MDS. With the support of funding from the National Institutes of Health we were able to establish the first nationwide Pediatric MDS and Bone Marrow Failure (BMF) Registry. This allows researchers to collect information and tissue samples to help better understand and ultimately identify new therapies for these conditions. The registry also offers centralized pathology review with the goal to improve the accuracy of diagnosis through second opinion expert review. Search for current myelodysplastic syndromes clinical trials.
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