CTRC recognized as center of excellence for blood cancer, disease

SAN ANTONIO (July 18, 2008)—The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has achieved recognition as a Center of Excellence by the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation. Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are diseases of the blood and bone marrow, including but not limited to blood cancers.

As the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center in South Texas with the designation of the MDS Center of Excellence, CTRC will further worldwide research efforts; provide excellence in diagnosis, treatment and supportive care for patients; and extend education about MDS not only to the hematology/oncology physician community but also to patients, caregivers and the general public. The CTRC Hematological Malignancy Clinic provides a unique, multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment by bringing together a team of specialists in all the areas needed for optimal patient care, including access to novel therapies for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelofibrosis and MDS.

“CTRC’s recognition as an MDS Center of Excellence is very important for quality patient care,” said Swaminathan Padmanabhan, M.D., director of hematological malignancies at the CTRC and assistant professor of medicine at the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine. “It is important that patients are referred to a center that specializes in blood diseases and knows how to properly diagnose, counsel and treat the disease. Being diagnosed with an MDS does not necessarily mean a patient needs treatment or that it is cancer.”

MDS, a disease of the bone marrow, prohibits the marrow from making enough healthy blood cells. Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that develop into mature blood cells over time, specifically red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells carry oxygen and other materials to all tissues of the body. White blood cells fight infection and disease. Platelets help prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form.

“MDS is one in a spectrum of blood cancers. The CTRC has established programs within our Institute for Drug Development focused on the pathology that leads to our patients’ symptoms and novel approaches for the treatment of those patients,” said Frank Giles, M.D., deputy director of the CTRC. “We are proud to work with the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation and are honored to receive this designation.”

The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the nation’s leading academic research and treatment centers, serving more than 4.4 million people in the high-growth corridor of Central and South Texas including Austin, San Antonio, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. CTRC is one of a few elite cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center, and is one of only three in Texas. CTRC handles more than 120,000 patient visits each year and is a world leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer. The CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) is internationally recognized for conducting the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug trials program in the world, and participated in the clinical and/or preclinical development of many of the cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.ctrc.uthscsa.edu.

The MDS Foundation is a multi-disciplinary, international organization devoted to the prevention, treatment, and study of the myelodysplastic syndromes. The organization is based upon the premise that international cooperation will accelerate the process leading to the control and cure of these diseases.

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