Society of Hematologic Oncology President Guillermo Garcia-Manero, MD, who serves as Chief of the Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Section at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, speaks about what MDS Awareness Day means to him as a clinician and a researcher.
“My whole career is dedicated basically to the care of patients with MDS and [acute myeloid leukemia],” Dr. Garcia-Manero said, noting that it’s critical to “do the best work we can in terms of research so we can better understand this disease.”
He discussed why it is so critical raise awareness of MDS.
“This [is] very important for the patients with this disease because I think MDS maybe is sometimes kind of a forgotten entity,” he said.
Dr. Garcia-Manero spoke about some of the challenges that face patients with MDS.
“What we know is that this disease affects a group of patients that tend to be older, they tend to have comorbidities … [that] makes the management of these patients quite complex,” he said.
In the face of these challenges, Dr. Garcia-Manero said he hopes to find “better treatments” and even “one day a cure for this condition.”
“We still have so much work to do for our patients, and we really need to come up with better approaches for the therapy of our patients and try to maximize that,” he said.
Dr. Garcia-Manero also spoke about the importance of clinical trial access for patients with MDS, emphasizing that patients can re facilitating “access to the studies is really fundamental because we’re really never going to make progress in terms of new therapeutics unless we treat those patients in those studies.”
He encourages clinicians to consider referring patients with MDS to clinical trials. “If you have such a patient, please consider them for a study, because there’s really no good standard of care,” Dr. Garcia-Manero said.