Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) involves abnormal production of blood cells in your bone marrow. MDS is not just one single disease. It is a group of diseases that affect how blood cells are made. In all subtypes of MDS, a chronic bone marrow problem leads to low levels of blood cells moving around in your bloodstream.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center experts offer comprehensive care for MDS, including advanced treatments. Many MDS patients join clinical trials, which are led by world-renowned physicians from Fred Hutch and UW Medicine, so they can get promising therapies that are not available anywhere else.

Fred Hutch: A Leader in MDS Treatment

Fred Hutch is recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation for the diagnosis and treatment of MDS. Our experts are also leaders in research who focus on studying these diseases. 

Your First Appointment

From the first time you come to see us, your MDS team will begin getting to know you and your family. What are your questions? What are your concerns?  

At your first appointment, your medical oncologist will also explain your disease. They will tell you how it’s treated and which tests you need to help plan your individual care. Before you leave, your team makes sure you understand the next steps. 

Learn About MDS

Part of diagnosis is finding out exactly which type of MDS you have. We will check this and other details about your disease so we can provide the right treatment for you.

To check your MDS diagnosis and find out the subtype, your physician will do a complete physical exam and ask about your health history and any symptoms. 

Facts & Resources

Treatment for MDS

You are unique, and your care team will design a treatment plan specifically for — and with — you. 

At Fred Hutch, physicians with knowledge and experience in MDS will plan and provide your care. Our experts offer comprehensive care for MDS, including advanced treatments and new options that are only available through clinical studies.


MDS Care Team

At Fred Hutch, a team of dedicated people surrounds you and your family to give you the highest level of care and support.

You are the most important person on your care team. Our patients are at the center of everything we do.

Care Team

Our Approach to Treatment

The safest, most effective and most widely accepted therapies for cancer are known as the “standard of care.” For many patients, these therapies will be a large part of their treatment. At Fred Hutch, we provide all standard therapies for MDS. We know how to choose the right ones for you and how to deliver them to give you the best chance at a full recovery.

Our physicians and researchers are always asking how we can make MDS treatments more effective and reduce side effects as much as possible. This is why we do clinical trials (also called clinical studies). Through these studies, we are able to offer you therapies that aren’t offered everywhere. A therapy that is going through trials today may become the new standard of care tomorrow.

Along with treating your illness, a group of world-class professionals is here to support you. This team includes nurses, registered dietitians, physical therapists, social workers and psychologists. We also include supportive care services for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.  

Latest Treatments and Clinical Trials

Physicians and scientists from Fred Hutch and UW Medicine are testing new treatments for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) subtypes and finding new ways to use current treatments. 

Through this work, we are looking for answers to two main questions: How can we do even better at controlling or curing MDS? How can we make treatments less toxic and easier on patients?

We have clinical trials for all subtypes of MDS, from early to advanced. Some of the therapies we are studying are:

  • Chemotherapy regimens
  • Antibody therapies and other targeted therapies
  • Immunotherapies, including cellular immunotherapies and checkpoint inhibitors

We are comparing how well current therapies work and different ways of giving therapies. We are also helping with a national study of MDS before it has been treated, so we can better understand these rare diseases. 

When your care team makes your treatment plan, they will give you the choice to join clinical trials that match your situation. If you decide to join one, you will see the same physicians and nurses as you would for standard therapy.

Your care team will talk with you about if you might want to join a study and why. This can help you make the decision that is best for you.

Hematologic Malignancy Genetics Clinic

If your physicians decide there is a genetic part of your disease, our experts offer personalized care to test your family members who might have the same genetic risks, monitor their health and reduce their risk. This unique approach, which focuses directly on hematologic malignancies, is found only at Fred Hutch.

Related News

All news
Eight Fred Hutch teams win Evergreen Fund awards Research projects with commercial partnership potential receive grants of up to $200K December 13, 2022
Two Fred Hutch postdocs named 2021 Damon Runyon Fellows Awards to Drs. Edie Crosse and Ching-Ho Chang fund ‘creative, high-risk projects’ in cancer research August 13, 2021
Dr. Stanley Riddell awarded Burke O'Reilly Family Endowed Chair in Immunotherapy Inspired by child's life-threatening illness, family's gift funds development of next-gen therapies November 25, 2020
Dr. Rob Bradley named new McIlwain Family Endowed Chair in Data Science Computational biologist uses data science to understand cancer biology and to seek new treatment targets July 28, 2020