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Myelodysplastic syndromes and stem cell banking

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of diseases where bone marrow produces abnormal blood cells that don’t work properly, and are considered a type of blood cancer.

Fortunately, the conditions grouped under myelodysplastic syndromes can be treated with stem cell therapy following cord blood banking. These stem cells provide a valuable resource for patients who may be suffering from these diseases, offering a lifeline to them and even their close family members.

More about myelodysplastic syndromes

There are a number of different types of myelodysplastic syndrome, which are sometimes referred to as pre leukaemia as patients can go on to develop Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

In Refractory Anemia (RA) your body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells and you can find yourself getting tired easily and being more vulnerable to infections, bleeding and bruising.

Refractory Anemia with Ringed Sideroblasts (RARS) is similar to RA and is characterised by immature red blood cells in the bone marrow that contain a ring of iron or ‘ring sideroblasts’.

Patients with Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts (RAEB) are lacking white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets, and carry a higher risk of getting AML.

Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts in Transformation (RAEB-T) is more likely to develop into AML.

Finally, with Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (CMML), the patient has too many white blood cells called monocytes. This condition develops slowly and may not present typical symptoms such as fatigue and loss of appetite for a long time.

What treatments are available for myelodysplastic syndromes?

Treatment depends on what type of myelodysplastic syndrome the patient has, and how likely it is to develop into AML.

The range of therapy includes injections to increase the quantity of healthy white or red blood cells, a blood transfusion, or drugs to rid the body of excess iron. Chemotherapy can be used for the syndromes which have an increased risk of AML. Here, drugs destroy the immature or abnormal blood cells.

AML is treated in a similar way, with chemotherapy to get rid of the leukaemia cells. Radiotherapy can also treat the disease.

How can stem cells help with Myelodysplastic syndromes?

Stem cells from cord blood banking have a unique ability to transform into any cells the body needs, so are invaluable when treating myelodysplastic syndromes. The stem cells that have previously been in storage are introduced into the patient’s bloodstream and travel to the bone marrow where healthy blood cells are made.

Cells damaged by chemotherapy are replaced and the new cells help to boost the immune system to fight off disease. The patient is strengthened so that they can withstand more chemotherapy than might otherwise be possible.

One of the many advantages of using a patient’s own stem cells is that they won’t be affected by Graft Versus Host Disease, a complication when donated stem cells are used and the cells attack the body as if it is ‘foreign’.

How can I bank stem cells for the future?

Stem Protect can extract and bank stem cells for future therapy, such as treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes – please note we do not provide the therapy itself.

This safe, painless procedure could provide your child or other family members with a valuable weapon against disease in the future and is only a step away. To find out more about our stem cell banking services, fill out our form and take the first steps towards safeguarding your family’s health.

Learn about – Can stem cells prevent Anaemia?

Learn about – Can stem cells prevent Myelodysplastic syndromes

Learn about – Can stem cells prevent Acute leukaemia

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