The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) Program is a highly interdisciplinary group of investigators dedicated to reducing the incidence and subsequent mortality of MDS/MPN. The program fosters interdisciplinary research in basic science, genetics, clinical medicine, cancer prevention, and epidemiology at Fred Hutch Cancer Center, the faculty at the University of Washington, and the clinical community to improve MDS/MPN prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Forty years ago, researchers at Fred Hutch developed bone marrow transplantation, which continues to be an effective option for patients with MDS and MPN. Dr. E. Donnall Thomas and his team proved it is possible to replace cancerous cells and stem cells with donated healthy cells that engraft within a patient’s bone marrow. The discovery has created an effective treatment option for many blood cancers, and earned Thomas the 1990 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.
Our clinicians are experts in the management of MDS/MPN. Our researchers are working to better understand what makes the cells in the bone marrow develop into disease. Our experts know the limitations of current treatment options and are able to maximize health outcomes while managing treatment side effects. Treatments such as targeted radiotherapy offer great promise for patients to selectively provide high doses of radiation to diseased cells while sparing healthy cells.
Today, our researchers continue to perform ground breaking work that is revolutionizing the field of hematologic malignancies. Our clinicians and research teams bring the newest cutting edge therapies to our MDS/MPN patients through access to clinical trials. Our researchers are innovating new therapies for patients including drugs not yet commercially available, which may be less toxic and improve survival.
The foundational success of bone marrow transplant has set the stage for other methods that use a patient’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. This field, called immunotherapy, is transforming the cancer field and achieving remarkable results.
Our MDS/MPN program offers the unique capacity to conduct truly translational research. Our team is focused on bringing the most innovative therapies to our patients and we offer specialized treatments in immunotherapy.
Dr. Lee studies the molecular basis of blood cell development and how its dysregulation can lead to hematologic malignancies such as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). His research focuses on defining how disease-causing mutations impact the biology of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, and how they drive disease progression and response to therapy. The ultimate goal of Dr. Lee’s research is to translate this knowledge into novel treatments for patients with blood-related disorders including leukemia.