Myelodysplastic Syndromes

At Winship Cancer Institute, our hematology specialists provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for the treatment of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). To request an appointment, call (404) 778-0519.

A care team focused on myelodysplastic syndromes and related disorders, including specialists in hematology, hematopathology, and cancer genetics, works with you throughout the course of illness, from diagnosis to treatment planning.

We aim to offer you the most effective and innovative treatments, many available only through an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center like ours. We are also recognized as a Center of Excellence by the MDS Foundation.

Treatments for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) vary, and we work with you to develop a personalized therapeutic plan. Our approach is multidisciplinary and includes tumor board review of challenging cases and weekly leukemia and myeloid malignancies conference to discuss individual cases, review treatment plans and assess clinical trial eligibility. Our hematologists are focused on providing access to innovative treatments and incorporating the latest research findings into better patient care, and quality of life during and after treatment.

Our multidisciplinary team approach offers several benefits to you, including:

  • Access to the highest standard of care by experts specializing in MDS and related malignancies.
  • Weekly review of patient cases by the full multidisciplinary team of experts.
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
  • Access to Winship's Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program, the largest and oldest program in Georgia.
  • Availability of new treatment options within our clinical trials program.
  • Access to support programs and groups for you and your caregivers.

Request an Appointment

If you have been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, we are ready to help you. Call us at (404) 778-0519 to make an appointment with one of our specialists. Winship experts are available to provide a second opinion.

We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Here is more information to help familiarize you with Winship and give you an idea of what to expect on your first visit.

Refer a Patient

Referring physicians, you or your staff may refer a patient by contacting us at (404) 778-0519 or via email. For information about our clinical trials, call (404) 778-1868 to speak with one of our research coordinators.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a rare group of disorders caused by abnormal development of hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, thereby affecting production of healthy blood cells.

This results in fewer red blood cells (anemia) to carry oxygen through out the body, fewer white blood cells to fight and prevent infections, or fewer platelets to prevent and stop bleeding.

MDS can be challenging to diagnose. Symptoms can be similar to other conditions, including certain types of leukemia, aplastic anemia, vitamin or mineral definciencies or an overactive immune system.

Mild blood-count abnormalities found during routine blood work may signal a potential diagnosis. Simple tests such as a complete blood count or peripheral blood smear can confirm abnormalities. A bone marrow biopsy is performed to help diagnose MDS. The bone marrow biopsy includes drawing liquid containing bone marrow elements from the bone cavity and retrieving a small piece of bone material. The procedure is performed in the outpatient setting, and we have a specialized procedural clinic with highly trained providers.

Our hematopathologists are highly trained in using various approaches to study samples obtained through a bone marrow biopsy. Those include morphological assessments and molecular and cytogenetic studies, with new diagnostic procedures constantly being evaluated.

At Winship, our specialized clinicians use innovative treatments and procedures that improve care for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

Depending on your diagnosis and the specifics of your MDS, your treatment options will vary and may include:

Blood counts monitoring: Some patients with MDS may have only mildly reduced blood cell counts or few symptoms and might not need to be treated right away.

Erythropoietin stimulating agents stimulate the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. The use of these agents for eligible patients with MDS can help to alleviate a low red blood cell count (anemia).

Erythroid maturation agents can also work to increase the number of red blood cells, but act differently than erythropoietin stimulating agents to alleviate anemia. Luspatercept, an erythroid maturation agent, was engineered to interact with endogenous transforming growth factor-beta superfamily ligands and is approved for specific subtypes of MDS.

Immunomodulatory agents impact the body’s immune system. In the treatment of MDS, the oral medication lenalidomide has been used primarily on patients with a defined subtype of MDS harboring a specific chromosomal abnormality (5q deletion).

Chemotherapy: FDA-approved chemotherapy treatments include hypomethylating agents such as azacytidine and decitabine, and the combination of decitabine and cedazuridine. Chemotherapy can be an effective treatment for MDS, but is not curative and is usually used in patients with advanced disease.

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation: This treatment consists of destroying cancerous bone marrow cells using higher doses of chemotherapy and replacing them with healthy bone marrow or stem cells to help patients build a new and healthy immune system. Winship has pioneered many advances in bone marrow transplant procedures and drugs.

Clinical Trials

One of your best treatment options may be participation in a clinical trial. Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Our patients can access some of the most advanced cancer treatments and clinical trials for MDS and acute leukemias. Contact your care team to learn of new clinical trials that may be opening soon.

Supportive Oncology Care

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselors, nurse navigators, dietitians and social service professionals.

Cascade Link

Brooj Abro MD

  • Hematopathologist
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                                 Brooj Abro MD
Brooj Abro MD

Brooj Abro MD

  • Dr. Abro is a board certified hematopathologist located at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5227

Martha Arellano MD

  • Hematologist
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                                 Martha  Arellano  MD
Martha Arellano MD

Martha Arellano MD

  • Dr. Arellano is a key member of the patient care team at Winship specializing in treatment of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.
  • Associate Director, Division of Hematology, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0519

Saja Asakrah MD

  • Hematopathologist
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                                 Saja Asakrah MD
Saja Asakrah MD

Saja Asakrah MD

  • Dr. Asakrah specializes in hematopathology and is located at Emory University Hospital.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-1266

Wendy Baer MD

  • Psychiatric Oncologist
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                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD
Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Ms. Barrett leads the nutritional services team at all Winship locations providing personalized nutrition advice to patients who are undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Manager of Winship Dietitians, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-5646

Anna Bausum ND

  • Integrative Oncology Specialist
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                                 Anna Bausum ND
Anna Bausum ND

Anna Bausum ND

  • Dr. Bausum supports patients with cancer by incorporating a variety of integrative medicine tools alongside patients' conventional oncology care regimens.
  • Integrative Oncology Specialist, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0600

William G. Blum MD

  • Hematologist
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                                 William G. Blum MD
William G. Blum MD

William G. Blum MD

  • Dr. Blum specializes in bone marrow transplantation and treating patients with acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and other myeloid malignancies.
  • Director, Acute Leukemia Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0519

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD
Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • A Registered Dietitian, Ms. Boyea provides blood cancer patients who are undergoing treatment at Winship with personalized nutrition advice.
  • Registered Dietitian, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-7991

Laura Brachman MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Laura Brachman MD
Laura Brachman MD

Laura Brachman MD

  • Dr. Brachman provides patients with cancer with relief from their symptoms and helps improve their quality of life throughout their journey.
  • Assistant Medical Director, Outpatient Palliative and Supportive Care, Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-6448

Kyle T. Bradley MD, MS

  • Hematopathologist
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                                 Kyle T. Bradley MD, MS
Kyle T. Bradley MD, MS

Kyle T. Bradley MD, MS

  • Dr. Bradley is a board certified hematopathologist located at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5227

Hilary G. Cohen LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
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                                 Hilary G. Cohen LCSW, OSW-C
Hilary G. Cohen LCSW, OSW-C

Hilary G. Cohen LCSW, OSW-C

  • Ms. Cohen works with patients treated for all types of malignancies and disorders that may need consideration for radiation treatment.
  • Social Worker, Radiation Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
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                                 Kimberly A. Curseen MD
Kimberly A. Curseen MD

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Dr. Curseen is the primary provider for the Supportive Oncology Clinic at Winship.
  • Director, Palliative Medicine Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-6448

Tiffany Dawkins LMSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Tiffany Dawkins LMSW
Tiffany Dawkins LMSW

Tiffany Dawkins LMSW

George Deeb MD

  • Hematopathologist
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                                 George Deeb MD
George Deeb MD

George Deeb MD

David A. Frank MD, PhD, FACP

  • Hematologist
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                                 David A. Frank MD, PhD, FACP
David A. Frank MD, PhD, FACP

David A. Frank MD, PhD, FACP

  • Board certified in medical oncology, Dr. Frank cares for patients with hematologic malignancies, specializing in leukemia.
  • Director, Division of Hematology, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0519

Michael J. Hochman MD

  • Hematologist
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                                 Michael J. Hochman MD
Michael J. Hochman MD

Michael J. Hochman MD

  • Dr. Hochman treats patients with acute leukemia, myelodysplastic neoplasms and other myeloid malignancies.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0519

Theresa Hoffman LCSW, ACM

  • Social Worker
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                                 Theresa Hoffman LCSW, ACM
Theresa Hoffman LCSW, ACM

Theresa Hoffman LCSW, ACM

  • Ms. Hoffman leads the social services team at Winship Cancer Institute, and provides clinical social work for patients with hematological malignancies.
  • Manager of Social Services, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Anthony M. Hunter MD

  • Hematologist
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                                 Anthony M. Hunter MD
Anthony M. Hunter MD

Anthony M. Hunter MD

David L. Jaye MD

  • Hematopathologist
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                                 David L. Jaye MD
David L. Jaye MD

David L. Jaye MD

  • Dr. Jaye is an attending pathologist specializing in hematolymphoid malignancies.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5947

Ashish Khanna MD

  • Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist
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                                 Ashish Khanna MD
Ashish Khanna MD

Ashish Khanna MD

  • Dr. Khanna focuses on the identification and treatment of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and other issues resulting from cancer and related treatments.
  • Director of Cancer Rehabilitation, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Susan K. Kunihiro MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Susan K. Kunihiro MD
Susan K. Kunihiro MD

Susan K. Kunihiro MD

  • Dr. Kunihiro works to improve quality of life for patients with cancer, no matter the stage of illness - from initial diagnosis, during treatment, in remission or closer to end of life.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

Amelia A. Langston MD

  • Hematologist
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                                 Amelia A. Langston MD
Amelia A. Langston MD

Amelia A. Langston MD

  • A bone marrow transplant specialist, Dr. Langston treats patients with leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and other blood cancers.
  • Director, Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0519

Shiyong Li MD, PhD, FASCP

  • Hematopathologist
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                                 Shiyong Li MD, PhD, FASCP
Shiyong Li MD, PhD, FASCP

Shiyong Li MD, PhD, FASCP

  • Dr. Li is a board certified pathologist interested in the development of new diagnostic techniques in hematopathology.
  • Director, Flow Cytometry Laboratory, Emory Medical Laboratory, Emory University Hospital
  • (404) 712-5867

Carol Lipscomb RN, BSN, OCN, BMTCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Carol Lipscomb RN, BSN, OCN, BMTCN
Carol Lipscomb RN, BSN, OCN, BMTCN

Carol Lipscomb RN, BSN, OCN, BMTCN

  • Ms. Lipscomb coordinates care for patients in the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center at Winship Cancer Institute.
  • Nurse Navigator, Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Meredith Maxwell MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Meredith Maxwell MD
Meredith Maxwell MD

Meredith Maxwell MD

  • Dr. Maxwell collaborates with the multidisciplinary care team at Winship to help patients address symptoms and improve their quality of life during their journey with cancer.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

Kendelle Miller MSW, LCSW, ACM-SW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Kendelle Miller MSW, LCSW, ACM-SW
Kendelle Miller MSW, LCSW, ACM-SW

Kendelle Miller MSW, LCSW, ACM-SW

Sonal Oza MD

  • Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist
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                                 Sonal Oza MD
Sonal Oza MD

Sonal Oza MD

  • Dr. Oza is a board-certified physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) with fellowship training in cancer rehabilitation medicine.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Nikolaos Papadantonakis MD, PhD

  • Hematologist
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                                 Nikolaos Papadantonakis MD, PhD
Nikolaos Papadantonakis MD, PhD

Nikolaos Papadantonakis MD, PhD

  • Dr. Papadantonakis specializes in the treatment of acute leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms and other myeloid hematological malignancies.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0519

Caroline Peacock DMin, LCSW, MDiv

  • Spiritual Health Provider
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                                 Caroline Peacock DMin, LCSW, MDiv
Caroline Peacock DMin, LCSW, MDiv

Caroline Peacock DMin, LCSW, MDiv

  • Dr. Peacock leads the Winship Spiritual Health Team in the work of offering compassionate, inclusive, supportive, evidence based care to patients, families and staff.
  • Director of Spiritual Health, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-8029

Deniz Peker MD

  • Hematopathologist
Photo of 
                                 Deniz Peker MD
Deniz Peker MD

Deniz Peker MD

  • Dr. Peker is a board certified hematopathologist located at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5947

Kharyne Pierre MSW, LMSW

  • Social Services
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                                 Kharyne Pierre MSW, LMSW
Kharyne Pierre MSW, LMSW

Kharyne Pierre MSW, LMSW

Jesse A. Soodalter MD

  • Palliative Care Specialist
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                                 Jesse A. Soodalter MD
Jesse A. Soodalter MD

Jesse A. Soodalter MD

  • A palliative care specialist, Dr. Soodalter provides specialized outpatient medical care with a focus on relief from the symptoms and stress of cancer and other illnesses.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

T. Michelle Tooson RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 T. Michelle Tooson RN, BSN, OCN
T. Michelle Tooson RN, BSN, OCN

T. Michelle Tooson RN, BSN, OCN

Colin A. Vale MD

  • Hematologist
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                                 Colin A. Vale MD
Colin A. Vale MD

Colin A. Vale MD

  • Dr. Vale specializes in stem cell therapy and in the treatment of patients with acute leukemia and other hematologic malignancies.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0519

Raymond Walker III MDiv, BCC, CCSH-RC

  • Spiritual Health Provider
Photo of 
                                 Raymond Walker III MDiv, BCC, CCSH-RC
Raymond Walker III MDiv, BCC, CCSH-RC

Raymond Walker III MDiv, BCC, CCSH-RC

  • Raymond provides administrative leadership to the Winship Spiritual Health Team, supporting and assisting in their work of compassionate and inclusive care of patients, staff, and their loved ones.
  • Process Improvement Specialist III, Senior Spiritual Health Clinician, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Destenie Willis LCSW

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Destenie Willis LCSW
Destenie Willis LCSW

Destenie Willis LCSW

  • Ms. Willis provides support to patients who are treated by the malignant hematology and stem cell transplant teams at Winship.
  • Social Worker, Hematological Malignancies, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Janghee Woo MD, PhD

  • Hematologist
Photo of 
                                 Janghee Woo MD, PhD
Janghee Woo MD, PhD

Janghee Woo MD, PhD

  • Dr. Woo specializes in the treatment of hematological malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and other myeloid disorders.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0519

Ali J. Zarrabi MD

  • Palliative Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Ali J. Zarrabi MD
Ali J. Zarrabi MD

Ali J. Zarrabi MD

  • Dr. Zarrabi provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care for patients living with serious illness.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-6448

Linsheng Zhang MD, PhD

  • Hematopathologist
Photo of 
                                 Linsheng Zhang MD, PhD
Linsheng Zhang MD, PhD

Linsheng Zhang MD, PhD

  • Dr. Zhang's specializes in diagnostic hematopathology integrating morphologic examination, flow cytometric immunophenotyping, cytogenetics, FISH, and microarray studies; and molecular diagnosis of solid tumors.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5867
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