A study looking at how bone marrow works in people with blood cell problems, myelodysplastic syndromes or leukaemia

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)





This study is looking at blood and bone marrow samples to understand more about what makes blood cells develop normally. If you are suitable for this study, your doctor will ask if you would like to take part.

More about this trial

Blood cells are made in the spongy tissue in the centre of your bones, called the bone marrow. Red cellswhite cells and platelets all develop from cells in the bone marrow Open a glossary item called stem cells. If this process goes wrong, you may develop a blood cell disorder. One type of disorder is myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) Open a glossary item. If you have MDS, your bone marrow makes abnormal blood cells, but not enough healthy blood cells. MDS is not cancer but can sometimes develop into leukaemia.

Doctors want to understand these conditions better, and find out more about how the stem cell develops into the different types of blood cell. Researchers believe that thousands of genes must be turned on or off in the right order for the stem cell to develop normally into a fully grown blood cell. They would like to find out more about how genes control this process. This study aims to

  • Find out more about how blood production becomes abnormal in MDS
  • Find features (biomarkers) that would help doctors tell the difference between MDS and other conditions affecting blood cell numbers (‘blood count’)
  • Find biomarkers that show if MDS may turn into AML
  • Understand more about low red blood cell count (‘anaemia’) in cancer

Who can enter

You can enter this study if you are over 18 years of age and are in one of the following situations

  • You have abnormal numbers of any type of blood cell and are due to have a blood test and bone marrow sample
  • You have already been diagnosed with a blood disorder and are due to give a bone marrow sample
  • You have myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), or chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML), and are seeing a doctor regularly for this
  • You have healthy numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets and are waiting for hip replacement surgery at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford

You cannot enter this study if you are waiting for a hip replacement but have taken medication that may affect how your bone marrow works – you can check this with your doctor.

Trial design

This study will recruit 5000 people. The study team will look at blood and bone marrow samples, and gather information about your blood disorder if you have one.

If you are having tests to find out more about your condition, you will give an extra blood sample when you have a blood test. And you will give permission for the study team to use any of your bone marrow sample that is left over, after your medical team have tested what they need to.

If you have MDS or CMML, you will give the researchers information about your condition, but will not give any samples at this time. If you need to have a bone marrow test in the future, the team will then ask if you would be willing to give them some of this sample.

If you are having a hip replacement, you will give the surgeon permission to take a sample of bone marrow from your thigh bone during your surgery. The study team will compare the results from your ‘healthy’ samples with samples from people who have problems with their bone marrow.

You will give the study team permission to look at your medical notes to gather information for the study. This information will be stored safely, and the researchers will not be able to link it to you.

The study team will treat your samples and medical information anonymously, so no one else will be able to link the results to you.

Hospital visits

You will not need to make any extra hospital visits to take part in this study.

Side effects

There are no extra procedures in this study, so there are no side effects. You can find out more in our bone marrow tests section.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Alexander Sternberg

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Oxford

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Last reviewed:

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