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Robert Avery, D.O., M.S.C.E., studies innovations to improve vision in children with tumors
Date:2/28/2014

Robert Avery, DO, MSCE, of Children's National Health System and colleagues are establishing innovative approaches with technology and medication to improve the vision of young children who have visual pathway glioma, a type of brain tumor.

Most optic pathway gliomas cause vision loss in children between one and eight years of age. As many as 20 percent of children with neurofibromatosis type 1 -- a genetic disorder that occurs in 1 in every 4,000 births may develop these tumors. It is estimated that nearly half of those children may experience vision problems from their tumors.

Optic pathway gliomas can also occur sporadically, and not be related to neurofibromatosis type 1. Vision loss from these tumors can range from mild to complete blindness, and may be permanent if not properly treated. Unfortunately, standard treatment with front line chemotherapy typically results in modest improvements or stabilization of their vision.

Using Medications

In their study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, Avery and his colleagues report on four children with optic pathway gliomas that demonstrated marked recovery of vision when treated with the medication Bevacizumab. Other Children's National researchers included Roger J. Packer, MD, Senior VP of the Center for Neurosciences and Behavioral Medicine, and Eugene I. Hwang, MD, a neuro-oncologist.

Bevacizumab is an angiogenesis inhibitor, a drug that slows the growth of new blood vessels, to treat various cancers.

Bevacizumab provides a fast, robust response in these children," Avery told Reuters Health. "Although it's not first-line treatment, Bevacizumab is a good alternative or adjunct treatment."

Dr. Avery and colleagues identified children who had recovery of visual acuity or visual field in treatment with Bevacizumab.

A nine-year-old girl's visual acuity improved from 20/400 to 20/100 within six weeks of Bevacizumab treatment and r
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Contact: Joe Cantlupe
jcantlupe@childrensnational.org
202-476-4500
Children's National Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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