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New Localized Cancer Treatment for Advanced Retinoblastoma Saves Children From Having Eyes Removed, Restores Vision in Some Cases
Date:3/17/2008

Interventional Radiologist Delivers Chemo Drug Directly to Eye via Ophthalmic Artery

WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new interventional radiology treatment successfully treats advanced retinoblastoma -- a deadly, inherited cancer of one or both eyes in children -- and often spares them from having their eyes surgically removed (enucleated), according to the results of a study released today at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting. Advanced retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in children and -- because there is no effective drug treatment -- is usually treated by removing the eye to avoid the cancer spreading. Because an interventional radiologist delivers the drug directly to the eye via the ophthalmic artery, a much larger, curative dose of the cancer-killing drug, Melphalan, can be given than with intravenous chemotherapy. "This new interventional radiology treatment is a tremendous advance in treating retinoblastoma. It allows many children to keep their eyes and -- in some cases -- restores vision," said Pierre Gobin, M.D., attending radiologist, professor of radiology and neurosurgery and director of the Division of Interventional Neuroradiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. "In this research study, we enrolled 21 patients with advanced retinoblastoma for whom conventional treatment is enucleation," he noted.

The treatment cured half the patients for whom there is enough follow-up and improved the vision in some. Whether the vision can be improved depends on the size of the tumor and whether the vision was already lost before the interventional radiology treatment. In those cases, the treatment keeps the eye in place, which is better than having a prosthesis.

In cases of advanced retinoblastoma, removing one eye (when the fellow eye is intact) will allow the child to have fully functional vision -- and is a life - sa
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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology
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