With some types of MDS, white cells called lymphocytes destroy red cells, neutrophils (another type of white cell) and platelets before they can become fully functional. To counteract the lymphocytes' destruction, you may be given an agent called antithymocyte globulin (ATG) (Thymoglobulin®, Atgam®).
ATG is an immune globulin, taken from the blood of rabbits and horses. It can destroy the abnormal lymphocytes and improve blood counts in some people with MDS. Your doctor administers ATG by injecting it into a vein (intravenous injection). You may react with fever and chills immediately after injection.
Your doctor can tell before treatment whether you'll benefit from ATG. The therapy tends to be more effective for patients who fall into the low or intermediate-1 risk categories of the International Prognostic Scoring System.
Researchers are studying a drug called AMG531 in clinical trials to stimulate platelet growth in people with MDS.