Hussein Abbas, MD, PhD

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Titles + affiliations

Assistant Professor, Department of Leukemia
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Assistant Professor, Department of Genomic Medicine
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Adjunct Assistant Professor
University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics

Regular Member
University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences


Immune and Epigenetic Determinants of the Transformation of Myelodysplastic Syndrome with Deletion in Chromosome 7/7q to Acute Myeloid Leukemia


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) are aggressive blood disorders that lead to a high risk of infections, anemia, and bleeding. One of the characteristics of these diseases is large changes in the genetic material leading to the acquisition of therapy-resistant features. One of those genetic changes is the loss of chromosome 7. MDS patients who have lost chromosome 7 are more likely to transform into an AML and have high resistance to any available therapies. It is still not clear how the loss in chromosome 7 aids in MDS transformation to AML and confers high therapy resistance states. Our preliminary data suggest that when cells lose chromosome 7, it influences the immune environment where MDS and AML cells reside and thus prevents the normal function of the immune system. Our proposed work aims at understanding how and why chromosome 7 loss generates such remodeling of the immune environment. We will leverage state-of-the-art tools that break down the bone marrow, where these cancer cells reside, into single-cell levels allowing for high-resolution analysis. Since this genetic abnormality occurs in almost one out of three AML/MDS patients, our study will provide major insights into how we can remodel the immune system to help in preventing MDS transformation into AML and will impact a large subset of patients.


Leukemia Research Foundation grant
$93K awarded in 2022

Disease focus
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)

Research focus
Causes/risk factors (MDS)