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Molecular International Prognostic Scoring System Developed for Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Efficient, Accurate Risk Stratification Will Transform Patient Care

MDS Foundation logo

MDS Foundation logo

YARDVILLE, N.J., June 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the MDS Foundation announced the development of a new prognostic scoring system, the IPSS-Molecular, that will significantly improve risk stratification upon diagnosis to better inform the way treatment plans are built for patients with Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

“By considering each patient’s genetic make up in the IPSS-M we can now truly deliver patient tailored risk stratification,” says Dr. Elli Papaemmanuil of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “This will enable optimized treatment decisions tailored to those most in need of intervention, and sets a biological framework for the design of future clinical trials.”

For more than two decades, MDS patient risk stratification at diagnosis was based on diagnostic blood counts, morphology, and cytogenetics through the International Prognostic Scoring System. In recent years, a complete catalog of the genes mutated in MDS has been discovered. However, even though patients increasingly receive panel gene testing at diagnosis, there were no guidelines as to how this information could be used clinically to guide risk stratification and treatment decisions.

The creation of an effective set of prognostic guidelines was especially important for MDS because current clinical courses are very heterogeneous. In this absence of targeted therapies, risk stratification at diagnosis is critical in guiding treatment decisions. For example, supportive care with less toxic treatments would be considered for low risk patients, while patients with high-risk disease need higher intensity treatments to mitigate the risk of leukemia progression and death.

An International Collaboration to Improve Risk Stratification

Through the efforts of the International Working Group for the Prognosis of MDS—a consortium of expert clinicians, pathologists, computational biologists, and statisticians—and under the auspices of the MDS Foundation, a total of 2,957 patient blood and marrow samples were collected from 24 centers within 13 countries. Those samples were all sequenced uniformly by a panel test at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and analyzed in the Papaemmanuil laboratory. Each sample was profiled for mutations in 152 genes and clinical and molecular variables were evaluated for associations with leukemia-free survival, leukemic transformation, and overall survival. In order to validate the IPSS-M, the study used another 754 samples derived from the Japanese MDS consortium. The results of this investigation, led by Drs Elsa Bernard, Elli Papaemmanuil and IWG colleagues, ‘Molecular International Prognostic Scoring System for MDS (IPSS-M)’, have just been published in the June 12, 2022 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine Evidence.

Determining the IPSS-M Risk Score and Risk Categories

The study found at least one driver genomic alteration in 94% of patients (41% of patients with cytogenetic alterations and 90% of patients with gene mutations). On average, the higher the number of alterations, the worse the outcomes.

Using this data, researchers developed the IPSS-Molecular which incorporates information from 31 gene mutations as well as diagnostic and clinical parameters to deliver a personalized, patient-specific risk score. The IPSS-M risk score indicates the continuum of prognostic risk observed across patients with MDS and produces six risk categories (Very Low, Low, Moderate Low, Moderate High, High, Very High) that can be used for determining clinical trial eligibility criteria, correlative studies, and treatment recommendations.

In addition to its effective prognostic categorization of primary MDS, the IPSS-M efficiently stratifies patients with therapy-related MDS, a diagnostic subtype that was considered to be uniformly high risk and therefore lacked an applicable prognostic system. Compared to the previous IPSS-R system, 46% (roughly 1 in 2) of patients were reassigned to a different risk category in the IPSS-M which led to improved prognostic discrimination. Importantly, 7% of patients were reassigned by more than one strata (e.g IPSS-R Low to IPSS-M High or vice versa).

The Future of MDS Risk Stratification

The IPSS-Molecular is set to become a new international standard for risk stratification of MDS patients at diagnosis. The IPSS-M score is personalized, interpretable, reproducible, and provides a flexible and transparent strategy to account for missing values. It also provides a list of the 31 genes that must be considered in diagnostic assay design.

To support widespread adoption and use, the research team developed a web-based calculator where clinicians can enter patient clinical and molecular data to deliver a personalized prediction of risk, outcomes, and likelihood of leukemia transformation in order to guide cost-benefit analysis on treatment decisions.

“It has been a privilege to work closely with expert MDS clinicians, pathologists, biologists, statisticians, and the broader IWG community to develop the IPSS-M, aiming to better guide and ultimately improve the care of patients with MDS,” says Dr. Elsa Bernard of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “While the IPSS-M can be calculated using a relatively simple formula, we built a web calculator and an R package to facilitate its application, which we hope will prove useful for the community.”

Explore the web-based IPSS-M calculator

Read the IPSS-M study

Study Investigators:

Elsa Bernard, Ph.D., Heinz Tuechler, Peter L. Greenberg, M.D., Robert P. Hasserjian, M.D., Juan E. Arango Ossa, M.S., Yasuhito Nannya, M.D., Ph.D., Sean M. Devlin, Ph.D., Maria Creignou, M.D., Philippe Pinel, M.S., Lily Monnier, M.S., Gunes Gundem, Ph.D., Juan S. Medina-Martinez, M.S., Dylan Domenico, B.S., Martin Jädersten, M.D., Ph.D., Ulrich Germing, M.D., Guillermo Sanz, M.D., Ph.D., Arjan A. van de Loosdrecht, M.D., Ph.D., Olivier Kosmider, M.D., Ph.D., Matilde Y. Follo, Ph.D., Felicitas Thol, M.D., Lurdes Zamora, Ph.D., Ronald F. Pinheiro, Ph.D., Andrea Pellagatti, Ph.D., Harold K. Elias, M.D., Detlef Haase, M.D., Ph.D., Christina Ganster, Ph.D., Lionel Ades, M.D., Ph.D., Magnus Tobiasson, M.D., Ph.D., Laura Palomo, Ph.D., Matteo Giovanni Della Porta, M.D., Akifumi Takaori-Kondo, M.D., Ph.D., Takayuki Ishikawa, M.D., Ph.D., Shigeru Chiba, M.D., Ph.D., Senji Kasahara, M.D., Ph.D., Yasushi Miyazaki, M.D., Ph.D., Agnes Viale, Ph.D., Kety Huberman, B.S., Pierre Fenaux, M.D., Ph.D., Monika Belickova, Ph.D., Michael R. Savona, M.D., Virginia M. Klimek, M.D., Fabio P. S. Santos, M.D., Ph.D., Jacqueline Boultwood, Ph.D., Ioannis Kotsianidis, M.D., Ph.D., Valeria Santini, M.D., Francesc Sole, Ph.D., Uwe Platzbecker, M.D., Michael Heuser, M.D., Peter Valent, M.D., Kazuma Ohyashiki, M.D., Ph.D., Carlo Finelli, M.D., Maria Teresa Voso, M.D., Lee-Yung Shih, M.S., Michaela Fontenay, M.D., Ph.D., Joop H. Jansen, Ph.D., Jose Cervera, M.D., Ph.D., Norbert Gattermann, M.D., Benjamin L. Ebert, M.D., Ph.D., Rafael Bejar, M.D., Ph.D., Luca Malcovati, M.D., Mario Cazzola, M.D., Seishi Ogawa, M.D., Ph.D., Eva Hellstrom-Lindberg, M.D., Ph.D., and Elli Papaemmanuil, Ph.D.

The MDS Foundation, Inc. is an international non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to support and educate patients and healthcare providers with innovative research into the fields of MDS, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and related myeloid neoplasms in order to accelerate progress leading to the diagnosis, control and cure of these diseases.

Media Contact:

Tracey Iraca, Executive Director, MDS Foundation, Inc.

Phone: (609) 298-1600 x 211

Mobile: (609) 647-2080

Email: tiraca@mds-foundation.org

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E-Learning Virtual Reality Startup GeniusX Closes $1.68M in Series Seed to Create Educational Content in the Metaverse

Introducing unique, interactive, immersive learning experiences for the future of education

Retreat VR

Retreat VR

PHOENIX, June 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In June 2022, GeniusX Inc. announced the closing of $1.68M in seed funding at a $20M market cap. As an indie development studio in the frenzied virtual reality ecosystem with a concentration in VR Education, the CEO & Co-Founder, Nick Janicki, says, “Our mission is to create experiences that have utility, longevity, and uplift the human spirit. Our first VR title, Retreat, is basically an immersive hero’s journey for tangible real-world skills.” Co-Founder, Lyle Maxson, adds, “We are creating the first social VR platform centered around educational influencers.”

Retreat is a virtual reality education application that creates interactive, immersive learning experiences with the world’s top experts in the Metaverse. With photo realistic backgrounds and real-life videos of educators, students get to choose their own virtual reality adventure through interactive learning worlds, customized group classrooms, and exquisite immersive environments.

Retreat production is fully booked through 2022 with dozens of immersive courses being created. The line-up ranges from wellness practices such as yoga, breath work, & art therapy to professional development content, including financial literacy, public speaking and career skills.

A lead investor of GeniusX and founder of ETW, Lee Benson, stated: “When I think about the future of education, VR and AR have the ability to take it to the next level.”

Retreat will be free to download and offers in-app purchases for courses and other educational content. GeniusX is actively onboarding the world’s top experts per category.

For any questions or requests, reach out to laura@geniusx.com for more information.

GeniusX Inc.

https://retreatvr.io

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Higher quality of service for haj pilgrims expected with increase in cost – TH

The increase in the cost of performing the haj pilgrimage this year is hoped to be on a par with the quality of services and welfare that the pilgrims will enjoy.

Head of the Malaysian Haj Delegation, Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman, said that the cost increase was not only a major topic in Malaysia but also in other countries, and TH had high hopes that this year’s haj pilgrimage would be better than before.

“This matter has been discussed with regional countries, that the cost of haj has increased significantly compared with the previous year, due to several factors that are out of our control such as inflation, taxation and so on.

“There are also service improvements that will be provided by the Saudi Arabian authorities and the Southeast Asian Muassasah. This is in line with the 2030 vision and mission of the Saudi Arabian government. We hope that the cost increase will also improve the quality of services, especially during Masyair (massive movement of pilgrims),” he said.

He said this when met by reporters after welcoming the arrival of 291 haj pilgrims from Madinah at the Land Premium hotel, here, which is the second hotel to house Malaysian pilgrims.

According to Syed Saleh, the Makkah Route or pre-departure service for Malaysian pilgrims is also one of the best services, not to mention that Malaysia was among five other countries selected by Saudi Arabia.

Apart from that, other facilities that are expected to be improved include comfort in tents either in Arafah and Mina, toilet facilities, quality of food and smooth journeys on buses.

“Makkah Route is able to provide excellent convenience and comfort to our pilgrims because when they arrive at the airport, either at the Madinah Terminal or Jeddah, they board the bus without going through immigration or customs, and without having to wait for their luggage.

“The bus will take them straight to the hotel and their belongings will be delivered to their respective hotels. Improved service will also be experienced by the pilgrims while in Arafah and Mina. The tents are new and have air conditioning,” he said.

He stressed that although the cost has increased, only part of it was borne by the pilgrims, while the rest was managed by TH through the agency’s various revenues, investments and business; in fact, it involved large additional allocation.

Pilgrims who have been to Madinah and Makkah also had to face rising food prices in restaurants and other things.

“Actually, this significant cost increase also involves all goods and services in Saudi Arabia … not only performing haj but also daily necessities as well as souvenirs,” he said.

In a related development, to date, a total of 3,882 Malaysian haj pilgrims have safely arrived in Madinah via 15 flights.

They will arrive in Makkah in stages to perform the first umrah and follow various interesting programmes organised by TH.

Similar to the pilgrims from other flights, all those who boarded flight KT04 last night received a warm welcome by receiving a bouquet of flowers and sweets, and were served with Zamzam water by the management.

One of the pilgrims, Isnaini Raman, 48, said that she was very excited and grateful for being chosen to go to the Holy Land, despite missing her family, especially her husband who was unable to accompany her.

“I accepted the offer of haj in 2020 but it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alhamdulillah, it is happening this time. It’s hard to describe it in words. The good services provided by the TH management also overwhelmed us,” she said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

No chicken egg supply shortage in Penang – KPDNHEP

The Penang Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) said that there was no chicken egg crisis in the state, as was reported by a newspaper two days ago.

Its deputy director, A. Mogan, said that, based on surveys and information obtained from breeders and wholesalers, most of them said that the stock or supply of chicken eggs was stable in Penang.

“From Jan 1 to today, the state KPDNHEP has not received any complaints from traders or consumers regarding chicken egg shortage in the state.

“However, due to the school holidays, the demand for chicken eggs is quite high, and we will always monitor the price of eggs under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011, to ensure that there is no unreasonable profit taking by any party” he said in a statement today.

Commenting further, Mogan, who is also the state KPDNHEP enforcement chief, said that consumers are welcome to lodge a complaint if there is a problem regarding the price of eggs.

“During the enforcement period of the maximum wholesale and retail price, from June 6 to 30, grade A chicken eggs (weighing between 65 grammes (g) to 69.9 g) wholesale price is RM0.41 while the retail price is RM0.43 each; grade B chicken eggs (weighing between 60 g to 64.9 g) wholesale price is RM0.39 each while the retail price is RM0.41 each

“Grade C chicken eggs (weighing between 55 g to 59.9 g) the wholesale price is at RM0.37 each while the retail price is RM0.39 each. Traders must comply with the price that has been set,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

King, Queen congratulate Janusha, first M’sian woman to graduate from USNA

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah congratulated Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) senior cadet officer B. Janusha for being the country’s first female officer to graduate from the United States Naval Academy (USNA).

Also congratulating Janusha on Istana Negara’s Facebook page was Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

“Their Majesties hope that the outstanding achievement would motivate her and other RMN personnel to continue to work hard and achieve success in the military field,” read the post.

Janusha, 23, a native of Kuala Lipis, Pahang, made history when she became the first Malaysian woman to be admitted to the prestigious US military academy.

She began her four-year stint at USNA in 2018 along with 1,085 trainees from the US and 14 from overseas.

The passing out parade was officiated by US President Joe Biden and attended by the top leadership of the US Navy along with ambassadors and defence attaches from various countries.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Agong, Raja Permaisuri extend condolences to Abang Ahmad Urai’s family

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has conveyed his condolences to the family of former Senate president Tan Sri Abang Ahmad Urai Datu Abang Mohideen, who died early today.

Also expressing condolences in the message posted on Istana Negara’s Facebook today was Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Hajah Azizah expressed their sadness with Abang Ahmad Urai’s passing and hoped his family would be patient and resolute in facing the situation.

Their Majesties also pray that his soul is blessed by Allah SWT and placed among the righteous.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong greatly appreciates the devotion, service and sacrifices of the late Abang Ahmad Urai and described his passing as a great loss to Sarawak and the nation, the Facebook post read.

Abang Ahmad Urai died at the Normah Sarawak Medical Centre in Petra Jaya at about 12.30 am today. He was 89.

He was born in Kuching on June 26, 1933 and was appointed Senate president, replacing Tan Sri Benedict Stephens, serving from July 12, 1988 to July 9, 1990.

He had also served as Sarawak Assistant Culture, Youth and Sports Minister.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Quickly resolve escalator, autogate problem at CIQ Complex in JB – PM

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob wants the problem of defective escalator and autogate for Malaysian passport holders at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar here to be settled immediately.

He said this after making a surprise visit to the CIQ Complex together with Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi this afternoon.

According to Ismail Sabri, the shortcomings should be rectified urgently for the benefit of Keluarga Malaysia and travellers from outside as it is one of the main gateways into the country.

“This complex is back to normal (operation) after the country’s borders were fully reopened. I found the facilities including for public transport in good order except for the defective escalator and autogate for Malaysian passport holders,” he said in a post on his official Facebook today.

Earlier, the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, granted an audience to Ismail Sabri at Istana Bukit Serene here.

Also present was the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim. Also in attendance were Onn Hafiz and Johor State Secretary Tan Sri Dr Azmi Rohani.

Ismail Sabri also attended a lunch hosted by Sultan Ibrahim.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency