Demystifying the science of myelodysplastic syndromes

Novartis works with visual artist Noma Bar and international patient group MDS Alliance to send a message of hope to people living with myelodysplastic syndromes.

Oct 26, 2021

"The combination of a simple explanation and the use of metaphors is powerful and can be understood across cultures,” says Jacqueline Dubow, of the MDS Alliance, an international organization dedicated to ensuring patients with myelodysplastic syndromes have access to quality care and information. “It is a message of hope, and it is badly needed in MDS.”

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of rare and often underdiagnosed blood cancers, specifically called myeloid cancers, with a survival rate of less than two years for high-risk patients. However, new understanding is leading to new possibilities.

The combination of a simple explanation and the use of metaphors is powerful and can be understood across cultures.

Jacqueline Dubow, MDS Alliance

Novartis is working with artist Noma Bar and the MDS Alliance to create a new, visual story for MDS. The project illustrates how this disease affects the body, and how a new perspective on the immune system may bring the benefits of immunotherapy to people living with myeloid cancers and offer new hope.

Three people walking on a path with a cityscape in the background.
To show the hopefulness of the message, three people are seen walking down a path that leads to future possibilities, with an outline of a cityscape in the background.

MDS affects the immune system and limits the ability of bone marrow to generate healthy blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, while letting cancerous cells multiply uncontrollably. With new perspectives emerging about how MDS affects the body, scientists are beginning to test new ways to treat the disease including with immunotherapy. In the future, it may be possible for the body’s immune system to recognize, attack and destroy cancerous stem cells.

With the launch of MDS. New Understanding. New Possibilities., a new campaign that uses art to convey complex science, we hope to be able to help people understand what happens when the body’s immune system learns to confront MDS, and to take an active role in their own healthcare.

Watch MDS come to life and see a fresh outlook on what may be possible in the future.

An easier way to understand the science of blood cancer is being told through new perspectives

Complex blood cancers like myelodysplastic syndromes, MDS, are difficult for oncologists to explain in a meaningful way to their patients. Now, through new perspectives, we are bringing the scientific story to life in a way that’s easy to understand and inspires hope for what may be possible in the future.

Learn more