Introducing NMDP, formerly known as the National Marrow Donor Program and Be The Match. Our name has changed but our mission has not: We save lives through cell therapy. Learn More

Blood and marrow transplants (BMT) help people with advanced myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)

Not enough people have access to life-saving transplant

Age50 - 75 years old
Number of Participants384
Research GoalImprove Quality of LifeImprove Survival
Using smaller doses of therapy with BMT have made it safer. Now a new study of 400 older adults, aged 50 to 75, suggests that this type of BMT, along with a matched donor, helps people with advanced MDS live longer with a similar quality of life. 

If a donor was found within 90 days, then patients got BMT. Otherwise, patients got other types of therapies. After 3 years: 
  • About half the people who got BMT were alive; 
  • Only about a quarter of the people who did not get BMT were alive; 
  • Quality of life after BMT was similar whether patients got BMT or not. 

Experts say community doctors and transplant doctors should team up to care for people with MDS. They should work with insurance companies and patient advocacy groups to: 
  • Spread the news about BMT for older patients; 
  • Help patients visit a transplant center to find a donor for BMT early; 
  • Make health care affordable; 
  • Provide emotional support for patients and families; 
  • Help patients and families to get transportation and housing if they need to travel for transplant; 
  • Listen to and collaborate with communities of color. 

Ask your doctor 

Is transplant a treatment option for me? What are the possible benefits and harms?