LONDON, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Foundation is pleased to support the licensed use of VIDAZA in the United Kingdom and Ireland to treat a subset of patients with intermediate-2 and higher-risk MDS, chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML with 20-30% blasts).

As the first and only drug approved in Europe for patients with MDS, the MDS Foundation supports wide availability of this important treatment. Clinical trials have found that VIDAZA is the only agent shown to significantly extend survival in MDS patients. Furthermore, results have shown that patients with MDS and this subgroup of AML patients treated with VIDAZA experience fewer symptoms such as anaemia and infection and that many are able to live free from the burden of blood transfusions.

This study of VIDAZA in the treatment of MDS and this subgroup of AML offers a hope of increased survival for many patients who previously had limited or no treatment options and is the most important development to date in these diseases, said Kathy Heptinstall, Operating Director of the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation. We are extremely pleased that VIDAZA is now available to patients in the UK and Ireland.and we will be committed to supporting regulatory and appraisal procedures in these markets to ensure this valuable treatment can be accessed by all who need it.

The first in a new class of drug, known as epigenetic therapies, VIDAZA represents a major development in the approach to treating cancer. With a targeted mode of action that addresses the genetic defects, which cause this cancer, VIDAZA has been shown to delay the progression of MDS to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). This is important because roughly 30 percent of patient diagnosed with MDS will progress to AML, which historically has a survival time of just six to twelve months.

MDS is a primary neoplasm of the bone marrow that is more prevalent than any of the leukaemias. MDS affects the function of blood cells, either red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. Nearly 2,000 new cases of MDS are diagnosed in the UK each year, but disease incidence is generally underestimated.

About the MDS Foundation

The Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation, Inc. 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. For further information, please visit

The MDS Foundation, Inc.

Kathy Heptinstall, +1-800-MDS-0839 (USA) +1-609-298-1600 (Outside the USA), Operating Director

EU Patient Liaison - Tel: +44-20-7733-7558

The MDS Foundation, Inc., Kathy Heptinstall, +1-800-MDS-0839 (USA) +1-609-298-1600 (Outside the USA), Operating Director; EU Patient Liaison - Tel: +44-20-7733-7558