Greetings from Bures sur Yvette (France)! In this blog, I would like to share with you my trip to reach my goal: wining the fight against MDS or myelodysplasic syndrome (http://www.mds-foundation.org/). I guess it will be a bumpy road, but I am confident that “We can do it” ;-)!

I will start by a short description of this little known disease, then will explain how and when it was discovered for me. I will give a short description of “the trail” I will be following in the near future…

What is MDS? MDS is a kind of disease affecting the function of the bone marrow. In the bone marrow are located erythropoietic stem cells, the stem cells which are producing all the type of “cells” found in the blood: red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes). When you have MDS, the erythropoietic stem cells don’t work correctly, so you end up with not having enough of those cells in your blood. Most of the time, people have not enough red blood cells and it is called anemia. This disease has usually not known origine, but it is more often found in people who have been treated by irradiation and/or chemotherapy to cure a cancer. It has also been related to the exposition of specific chemicals such as benzene. The evolution of the disease is varying a lot from people to people, so it is very difficult to see trends. To make it short, the “only cure” for MDS is a bone marrow or erythropoietic stem cells transplant. In order to do that, you need to find “a match”, somebody who have the same or close HLA system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_leukocyte_antigen). Once a donor is identified, the real cure can start. Of course, before the transplant, the doctors will have to wipe out the defective stem cells in the recipient’s bone marrow. A strong chemotherapy is needed. This part is the tricky one since all the natural defences will be destroyed. The recipient will have to stay in a “clean” room, i.e.a sterile room. It is a kind of “bubble”, very similar to a space station (the title of the blog is coming from this analogy!). The contacts with outside world are limited: visiting people have to wear a special outfit including a mask, similar to the outfit we use when working in a clean room in a lab. So, no physical contacts with the visitors! No kissing, no caress… Then the good stem cells can be injected. They find their way by themselves to the bone marrow. After some time, they will start their job and will produce the needed blood cells. It is a slow process which requires weeks. During this time the recipient will have to stay in the special “aseptic environment”. Then if things work fine, the recipient will leave the hospital to go home to start a new life as “a chimera” with two DNAs, one for the things related to the blood, and one for the other parts of the body: funny is not it? Well I should add that the process toward a full recovery is a lengthy one, taking months to years… I guess this is about what I know about MDS…

7 thoughts on “From the Earth to the Moon and back:on my way to a cure for MDS

  1. You are talking a lot about red blood and white blood cells, what do they look like? Would you have a drawing or a picture or even maybe a teddy bear form to show us? 😉

    Like

  2. Madam Curie had a pernicious anemia. It might be also a kind of MDS which was not discovered in her time? So, I say, the “evil lab building” is the source.

    Like

  3. My father in law has suffered from MDS disease in sixty. His career is related to the electromagnetic wave. unlike you, he didn’t find the donor. So he just conducted the self-transplant. Before the operation, the doctor collected the stem cells from my father in law . From these cells, the bad cells were removed. Then like you now, he received chemotherapy. After that, the collected good stem cells were injected to himself.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s