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Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Introduction

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are diseases of the blood and bone marrow. Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that develop into mature blood cells over time.

Normal Function of Bone Marrow and How Blood Cells Develop
A blood stem cell may become either a myeloid stem cell or a lymphoid stem cell. Lymphoid stem cells develop into white blood cells. The myeloid stem cell develops into one of three types of mature blood cells:

  • Red blood cells - carry oxygen and other materials to all tissues of the body
  • White blood cells- fight infection and disease
  • Platelets - help prevent and stop bleeding by causing blood clots to form