Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) represent a broad spectrum of diseases characterized by their clinical manifestation as one or more cytopenias, or a reduction in circulating blood cells. MDS is predominantly a disease of the elderly, with a median age in the UK of around 75. Approximately one third of MDS patients will develop secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML) that has a very poor prognosis. Unfortunately, most standard cytotoxic agents are often too toxic for older patients. This means there is a pressing unmet need for novel therapies that have fewer side effects to assist this vulnerable group. This challenge was tackled using bioinformatic analysis of available transcriptomic data to establish a gene-based signature of the development and progression of MDS. This signature was then used to identify novel therapeutic compounds via statistically-significant connectivity mapping. This approach suggested re-purposing an existing and widely-prescribed drug, bromocriptine as a novel potential therapy in these disease settings. This drug has shown selectivity for leukemic cells as well as synergy with current therapies.
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
- Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)