Progress Update
Leukemia (MDS-AML) Moon Shot team members, MD Anderson Cancer Center

To understand why front-line treatment with hypomethylating agents fail in many patients with MDS and AML, this moon shot team has developed cell lines resistant to these agents and conducted investigative studies. Genomic and proteomic analyses of these cell lines have resulted in significant new knowledge about therapy resistance. Our leukemia experts are partnering with drug companies and have started clinical trials for patients with resistant disease, including the first immune checkpoint blockade trial in leukemia, a type of cancer immunotherapy.

Learn more about the progress of the MDS-AML Moon Shot.

About MDS-AML

Overcoming a sad reality

MDS and AML are among the most tragic leukemias in terms of prognosis. There’s no cure for MDS, and AML has a cure rate of less than 30%. But MD Anderson physicians and scientists give patients hope.

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Research Projects
Laboratory photo of test tubes

We’re identifying targets for different risk levels of MDS — higher-risk disease has a greater chance of transforming into AML — and trying to figure out what drives some cases of MDS to become AML. We are genetically engineering mouse models essential for testing new drugs and discovering which current FDA-approved drugs can best help our patients.

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MD Anderson and the Moon Shots Program
Making Cancer History®

New knowledge and progress-enabling technologies make this the time to reduce cancer deaths. MD Anderson's comprehensive Moon Shots Program capitalizes on these novel resources as it builds on a 70-plus-year history of renowned expertise, lifesaving innovation and global impact.

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Progress Update

MD Anderson researchers recently made an exciting new stride in the battle against acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In a bid to better fight AML while reducing the toxic side effects of chemotherapy, Jeffrey Molldrem, M.D., has discovered a potentially potent new monoclonal antibody that targets cancer cells. Astellas Pharma Inc. are optioning the rights to the agent in a deal that will provide $26 million for research funding. The antibody targets a peptide on cancer cells, and is a form of biologic therapy, an increasingly appealing alternative to chemotherapy.

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Facts about MDS

Moon Shot co-leader Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero discusses the biology and challenges of of myelodysplastic syndrome. Listen to his explanation of the diagnosis, treatment and new therapies for MDS.

Leukemia (MDS-AML) Moon Shot co-leader Guillermo Garcia-Manero, M.D., Professor, Leukemia
Story of Hope

Ten years cancer-free, Kenneth Woo looks back on his treatment for both Hodgkin disease and AML at MD Anderson. Read his story.

Drug Development

MD Anderson and Amgen recently announced an agreement to develop BiTE® therapies for myelodysplastic syndrome. Learn More.