» Treatment Wed, 26 Dec 2012 21:04:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NAAC Releases New Blood and Bone Marrow Tutorial Wed, 19 Aug 2009 02:36:39 +0000 The National Anemia Action Council (NAAC) has just unveiled their new interactive tutorial, Blood and Bone Marrow Basics, here’s a brief description of  the tutorial, and the organization, a great resource for those struggling with bone marrow failure disorders:

Blood & Bone Marrow Basics is an interactive patient education tutorial which explains the different types of blood cells, describes how they are made, and discusses some of the different types of blood and bone marrow tests doctors can order. Learning about the many types of cells in the blood and their various functions can help patients better understand the purpose and results of blood and bone marrow tests.

Written for patients, the Blood & Bone Marrow Basics tutorial can be viewed for free online as a flash tutorial or can be downloaded and printed. NAAC partnered with the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation to create this patient education resource. The tutorial was released to help patients become more knowledgeable about the care they receive and to provide reliable resources for medical professionals to recommend to their patients.

NAAC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization providing expert, in-depth information about anemia to medical professionals, patients, caregivers, students, researchers, writers and the media. Dedicated to raising awareness of the prevalence, symptoms, consequences, and treatment options of anemia through education, the organization offers many services on its website,

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National Marrow Donor Program Needs More Asian Donors Tue, 28 Jul 2009 00:26:07 +0000 For patients suffering from bone marrow failure disorders such as aplastic anemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, bone marrow stem cell transplants are a life saving therapy. The only problem is, according to North West Asian weekly, a person in need of such treatment has about a 1 in 50,000 chance of finding a match. Due to a lack of registered donors, Asians in the U.S., along with other minorities, are among those with lowest probability of a successful match.

Here’s the donor breakdown according to National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) data from December 2008:

  • 5.3 million White,
  • 690,000 Latino,
  • 550,000 Black,
  • 520,000 Asian,
  • 210,000 mixed race,
  • 83,000 American Indian,
  • 10,000 Pacific Islander 

Asians and Pacific Islanders make up roughly 7 percent of the 7 million bone marrow donors nationwide.

Dr. John Choe at the University of Washington School of Medicine:

“Successful treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood disorders depends on finding a donor who has very similar tissue types as the patient — that is, it depends on finding a close ‘match,”

Siblings are the most likely match, with other direct relatives also more likely to be compatible. Though less probable, complete strangers with similar ancestry can also be a life saving match, this is why the NMDP is so important.

Choe and his colleagues have some ideas as to why Asians are so underrepresented on the NMDP:

“Our preliminary research has found that there is much fear about the pain and discomfort about donation … there are also cultural taboos against donation related to Confucian ideas about maintaining the [body’s] sanctity as a way of respecting ancestors,” 

New procedures have virtually eliminated the pain of marrow donation.

Anh Nguyen Reiss,  a 43-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, a mother, and an obstetrician/gynecologist in Houston, was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndromes this year. She requires a matching Vietnamese stem cell donor to survive. 

Huu Nguyen, Reiss’ brother and an attorney in New York, said the following:

“Asian donors are very underrepresented, the percentage is even smaller for Vietnamese donors. None of the 16,000 Vietnamese donors in the national registry matched with Anh.”

Anh Nguyen Reiss:

“Education and awareness in the community is a big problem, especially in immigrant communities, if you are an immigrant working-class mother, how do you have the resources and time to set up a bone marrow drive if one of your family members is in need?”

According to North West Asian Weekly, due to language and cultural barriers, information is difficult to access for Asians in the U.S., specifically in the immigrant communities.

Anh Nguyen Reiss:

“We need more Asian volunteers who speak Asian languages, and have to put out flyers in grocery stores and video stores, not just e-mails.”

Advances in medical procedures have greatly simplified and improved the process of bone marrow stem cell donation, making it  a painless procedure with little or no recovery time required. Now is a great time to join the NMDP and perhaps save a life. 

To learn more check out the NMDP’s web site,







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Aplastic Anemia: An Overview of Treatment Options Wed, 22 Jul 2009 00:45:14 +0000 Aplastic Anemia is a rare and debilitating hematological (blood) disorder that can be caused by exposure to benzene, a known carcinogen. Though life threatening, if detected early, the disease can be managed and even cured. The following article from is a useful resource for those seeking a comprehensive overview of aplastic anemia treatment options.

Aplastic Anemia being a rare disease has led to many deaths mostly due to lack of early diagnosis. However, if the symptoms of the disease are discovered early enough, it is possible to either control or cure the disease completely. Just like any other disease, the severity of the condition determines the type of treatment to be undertaken. Cases of Aplastic Anemia could be severe, mild or moderate. Severe Aplastic Anemia requires that the patient be hospitalized for specialized treatment because it is life-threatening. In the initial stages of treatment, the patient may have to undergo blood transfusion as he or she awaits treatment. Different methods of treating Aplastic Anemia are available although the most commonly known standard methods are blood transfusion, bone marrow transplant and immunosuppressive therapy. These treatments can either be used with an aim of managing the disease for a considerable time or to completely cure the disease.

continue reading…

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Azacitidine Treatment “Significantly Extends Overall Survival” For Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients Sun, 21 Jun 2009 01:50:51 +0000 This article discusses recent studies on the success of azacitidine (Vidaza®) treatment in reducing transfusion dependency, and increasing overall survival in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients.

Data presented at the 14th Congress of the European Society of Hematology demonstrate that treatment with azacitidine (Vidaza®) significantly extends overall survival and helps patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) become or remain red blood cell transfusion independent. Patients who benefited included those with higher-risk MDS or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) with 20-30% blasts, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The presentations at EHA this year continue to support the clinical benefit associated with Vidaza in MDS, including significantly extended overall survival…

Read the full article at



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Coalition of Cancer Patient Advocacy Groups Calls For New Rules On Many Fronts In Cancer Battle Tue, 02 Jun 2009 10:36:30 +0000 At the recent annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Orlando, Florida, a coalition of cancer patient advocacy organizations led by The International Myeloma foundation (IMF), and the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation (MDSF), brought to light a new "statement of principles" designed to aid cancer patients.

The statement called for equal insurance coverage, prevention research, continued innovation, early approvals, and expanded access to experimental drugs.

The principles were issued as follows:

  • Prevention is the key to reducing the burden of cancer
  • Continuing innovation is critical to early diagnosis and better treatment
  • Equality of access to care is imperative
  • Early approval of new treatments for deadly cancers is essential
  • Patients who have exhausted approved therapies need simplified access to experimental agents whenever possible

“When patients are diagnosed with cancer, their concern should be managing their disease, not reimbursement for their treatments. Oral drugs should have the same coverage as hospital-based procedures; research and innovation must be encouraged and supported; and for fatal diseases, the criteria for drug approvals should emphasize expedited approval and ready access to them.”  - Kathy Heptinstall, BSN, RN, operating director and co-founder of the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation



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May National Marrow Donor Program Month Mon, 13 Apr 2009 03:12:38 +0000 A Chance to Save A Life

For those suffering from blood disorders caused by benzene exposure, such as aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and acute myelogenous leukemia, bone marrow stem cell transplants can be a life saving therapy. May is National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) month, is a great time to consider a life saving marrow donation. For the entire month the usual $52 fee for eligibility testing through the NMDP will be waived.  

Modern Marrow Donation

Patients in need of bone marrow transplants require the living stem cells found in healthy bone marrow. While bone marrow transplants of yesteryear involve minor surgery to remove marrow from the hip bones of a donor, today’s procedure is far less invasive. The current method, peripheral blood stem cell donation, involves a shot which draws some of the needed stem cells out of the marrow and into the blood. The stem cells are then filtered from the blood. Though the procedure no longer involves actual bone marrow, most still call it a bone marrow donation.


The most likely match for a successful bone marrow stem cell transplant is a full brother or sister of the recipient.  Other family members, or even complete strangers may be a match.  The NMDP has a database of volunteers willing to donate their bone marrow to strangers. 

For more information on becoming a bone marrow stem cell donor visit the National Marrow Donor  Program website at:







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Hawaii Teen Tests New Marrow Transplant Procedure Wed, 25 Mar 2009 05:00:12 +0000 For those diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), a rare blood disorder linked to benzene exposure, bone marrow transplants are a life saving therapy.  Historically, the problem with these transplants has been the difficulty of finding compatible donors for patients.

Sarah Ruiz, a brave Hawaii teenager, has participated in a clinical trial and become the first Hawaiian to receive what is called a half-match bone marrow transplant.  If successful the half-match marrow transplant procedure will be a major breakthrough as it is thought that almost everyone has a family member that could provide it. 

So far Ruiz is doing well.  The marrow, which she received from her sister, is growing quickly and no major complications have occurred. 

Jessica Ruiz said her decision to donate marrow to her sister was one of the easiest she had ever made.

"You’re giving a cancer patient a chance of living life that they wouldn’t have"  

Indigenous peoples and people of mixed ethnicity are much less likely to find a suitable donor match through the National Marrow Donor Center.   Hopefully this new procedure will increase survival in those demographics, and for everyone who could benefit from a bone marrow transplant. 


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Promising Study Outcomes for AML Patients Sun, 14 Dec 2008 12:55:12 +0000 A recent study conducted at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute reveals that there is a promising treatment for older patients suffering from acute myloid leukemia (AML). According to researchers, phase II of the study found that older patients treated with the drug decitabine had a higher than expected recovery rate. The drug was found to be most effective when taken on a strict dosing schedule.

"This study could provide a new treatment paradigm for elderly patients with AML," explains co-author Dr. John Byrd, the associate director of translational research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Study to be Presented to Board of Researchers

The study will reportedly be presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Francisco this week. Researchers will also be analyzing the 13,300 new cases of AML that have popped up this year alone in the United States.

AML is a rapidly progressive disease that often results in the production of immature, cells within the bone marrow and bloodstream. As a result, the body can become unable to fight off infections or even produce enough healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. AML can primarily affect patients who are 60 years of age and older and it has become known as the second most common form of leukemia in adults.

A majority of elderly AML patients who are diagnosed with AML today are offered only supportive care as treatment due to the fact that their bodies are believed to be too weak to withstand the strong and life changing effects of chemotherapy.

"The treatment of AML is difficult in anybody, but particularly for older patients who don’t tolerate the ‘thunderbolt’ of intensive chemotherapy well," says Dr. William Blum, a hematologist and oncologist at Ohio State. "Some of the patients we are treating successfully had previously been told by other physicians to ‘go home and die.’ They were judged not to be candidates for any treatment at all because they likely would not survive the traditional, harsh chemotherapy approach."

The ongoing study focusing on AML in older patients, involves 33 patients from the age of 60 to 83. An estimated 58 percent of the patients studied responded, 42 percent who reportedly went into complete remission. In many cases, patients who did go into remission were able to receive bone marrow transplants as part of another clinical trial that’s been designed for older patients suffering from AML.


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Napa Teen with Aplastic Anemia Responds to Treatment Fri, 05 Dec 2008 13:11:25 +0000 An 18-year-old boy living in Napa Valley, California, had extra reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving. After a three month stay at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Grant Beltrami recently received news that he is finally responding to the treatment he’s being given for aplastic anemia.

Stem cells have been donated to Beltrami as part of the advanced bone marrow treatment that is being given to him for this blood condition. Doctors reportedly found a bone marrow match for Beltrami from an anonymous woman living in Germany. And for the first time in more that a decade, Grant will begin to produce healthy blood. Although doctors say that he’s not cured, the signs are promising for his recovery.

“This is all pretty significant for us,” says Wendy Beltrami, Grant’s mother. “We’re feeling a lot of thanks for what is finally coming to an end.”

Boy Hopes to Return Home

According to reports, if Grant continues to make progress and his aplastic anemia begins regressing, he could be transferred out of the hospital by Christmas. They also claim that he may even get to move into the Ronald McDonald House with his parents while he continues to receive treatment. Doctors will continue to closely monitor Beltrami to ensure that his immune system doesn’t reject the new marrow at any point.

Unfortunately due to his aplastic anemia, which is a blood disorder that could prove to be fatal, Grant is missing his senior year at Napa High School. However, the Beltrami’s, did get to share a turkey feast for Thanksgiving that was put on by Ronald McDonald supporters.


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Park Treatment Cancer Center Recognized Fri, 21 Nov 2008 12:46:29 +0000 Each year more people are diagnosed with leukemia and other forms of cancer; however, cancer treatments have also come a long way as more research and discoveries are made. Pills and various drugs have replaced bone marrow transplants for some patients and there are now genetic tests that can improve cancer care.

The staff at Park Ridge Hospital in North Carolina was recently recognized for consistently staying on top of advancements and technology as it continues to move forward. The Cancer Services and Infusion Center was one of 66 facilities in the nation to receive the 2007 Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award by the American College of Surgeons.

American College of Surgeons Awards Center

The American College of Surgeons helps to determine whether the quality of care offered by various health facilities meets standards and if the patients are getting the latest in care. Even though it was Park Ridge’s first time going through this judging process, the hospital was commended with the award.

The center treats patients with all types of cancer, particularly leukemia, which can be caused by exposure to the known carcinogen, benzene. Benzene is a toxic chemical that can cause life threatening illnesses like leukemia when it’s ingested, inhaled or handled. Those who develop leukemia as the result of benzene exposure often have to go through chemotherapy at Park Ridge as their form of treatment. The infusion center at the facility, where patients receive their chemotherapy, is the only hospital based outpatient infusion cancer program in the area.

There’s also a hospital blood bank where patients can receive a transfusion followed by chemotherapy given in a comfortable setting. The center has 19 nurses employed with chemotherapy and biotherapy certification, as well as six nurses who have oncology certification for patients.


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