The synopsis of childhood cancer incidence in Malaysia (2007-2011) reported leukaemia as the most common cancer to occur in children followed by lymphoma and brain tumours. Leukaemia contributed 46.4% of the 10 most common cancers in childhood in Malaysia.
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a rare group of blood disorders that occur as a result of disordered development of blood cells within the bone marrow. The red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are affected. As a result, individuals with MDS have abnormally low blood counts. In some affected individuals, MDS may progress to life-threatening failure of the bone marrow or develop into an acute leukaemia. The exact cause of MDS is unknown. There are no clear risk factors but genetics and the environment may play a part. Many studies are currently being conducted to develop better treatments for MDS.
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML) is a rare form of blood cancer. JMML predominately affects young children, most often developing in children under the age of 4. The disorder is characterised by the uncontrolled growth of an immature form of a specific type of white blood cell known as monocytes. These abnormal cells accumulate in the bone marrow crowding out other healthy cells. JMML cells can accumulate in other organs of the body including the lungs, skin, liver, and intestines. JMML is an aggressive and difficult to treat disease but is currently cured in about 50% of cases. Currently, the only effective treatment for most patients is haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The exact, underlying causes of JMML are unknown, but nearly all patients will have a mutation that changes the DNA inside their blood cells in a RAS gene or in a gene that controls the activation levels of Ras proteins. Targeted therapies are being studied for the treatment of children with JMML.
The inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFS) are a group of rare genetic blood disorders in which there is usually some form of aplastic anemia (failure of the bone marrow to produce blood), associated with a family history of the same disorder. The major disorders are: Amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia, Diamond Blackfan anaemia, Dyskeratosis congenita, Fanconi anaemia, Pearson syndrome, Severe congenital neutropenia, Shwachman Diamond syndrome, and Thrombocytopenia absent radii.
The autoimmune cytopenias are characterised by the production of antibodies against blood cells and include autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA), autoimmune neutropenia (AIN), autoimmune thrombocytopenia (ITP) or various combinations of these conditions. They may be idiopathic (primary) or associated with an underlying malignancy, other systemic autoimmune disorders or may be drug-induced.
MDS, JMML and IBMFS are rare in children and the curative treatment are challenging especially in limited resources countries including Malaysia. This meeting brings you the latest advances in MDS, JMML, IBMFS and autoimmune cytopenias in children from international experts. Various topics on relevant aspects of MDS, JMML, IBMFS and autoimmune cytopenias will be covered, including pathogenesis, diagnostics and current and future treatment strategies. It is important that we use this platform to share and exchange knowledge and learn from the international experts on treatment options of this rare diseases. We could also expand our international networking and opportunity to involve in new research. There will also be exciting sessions of real-world patient discussions pre scientific meeting and during the scientific meeting itself. Therefore, we hope as many doctors, nurses and health alliances as well as students will attend this meeting and involve in stimulating conversation and discussions, working together to improve the outcome and survivals of children diagnosed with this rare diseases in our country.
During this scientific meeting we also extend an educational support to nurses who are dealing with cancer children, through nursing masterclass. Various topics relevant to nursing care and psycological aspects are included in the nursing symposia and masterclass.