Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New genetic test predicts risk of metastasis in patients with deadly eye cancer

16.11.2006
UCLA surgeons first to biopsy tumor tissue from living eye

Imagine being diagnosed with eye cancer – but your doctor can't tell whether you have the aggressive type that will swiftly spread, causing blindness and death in as early as a year.

A new procedure at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute could reveal this valuable information to ocular melanoma patients and their physicians, providing a clear basis for making treatment and lifestyle choices. Researchers have pioneered the first technique to biopsy tissue from the living eye in order to predict which tumors possess high metastatic risk. The Nov. 15 online edition of the journal Ophthalmology reports the findings, which urge a new treatment strategy for physicians and offer huge medical and psychological benefits to patients.

"For the first time, we have demonstrated that it's safe and feasible to perform a biopsy in the living eye to obtain clear results about whether a tumor has metastatic potential or not," explained Dr. Tara Young, assistant professor of ophthalmology at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute and a Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher. "Identifying patients at high risk for metastasis is an important first step toward reducing the death rate of this cancer, which kills nearly half of its patients."

... more about:
»Genetic »UCLA »biopsy »melanoma »metastasis »physicians

Ocular melanoma attacks the pigment cells in the retina. Earlier studies discovered that patients who are missing one copy of chromosome 3 in their tumor tissue are more likely to have highly aggressive cancers. Half of these patients die within five years, due to metastasis to the liver and other organs.

Using this genetic marker as the starting point for their research, UCLA scientists studied a group of patients who had been newly diagnosed with ocular melanoma. Each patient was scheduled for a standard eye surgery to temporarily implant a small disc designed to shrink the tumor with radiation and hopefully save the eye.

For the first time, UCLA surgeons used an ultra-fine needle to collect cells from the cancer before surgery and send the sample to the lab for culture. After growing the tumor cells, a geneticist analyzed them to determine whether they were missing a copy of chromosome 3.

Of the nine patients in the UCLA study who underwent biopsy, four had tumors identified as high-risk for aggressive metastasis, and five were identified as low-risk.

"When physicians know upfront which patient has a poor prognosis, they will monitor the person more closely to detect metastasis earlier and consider more aggressive treatments to increase their chance of survival," Young emphasized. "Knowledge of metastatic risk will also help patients and their physicians decide whether to pursue clinical trials of experimental therapies that target metastasis.

"Patients understand that no good treatment exists after their cancer spreads -- everyone wants to know what their metastasis risk is," she added. "If the risk is low, it's a giant relief and emotional burden off their shoulders. If the risk is high, it enables them to plan arrangements for their family and finances, and make the most of their remaining time alive."

Pioneered by UCLA ophthalmic pathologist Dr. Ben Glasgow, the technique of fine-needle aspiration for collecting cancer cells from the living eye has been the standard of care at the Jules Stein Eye Institute since 2004, but adopted by only a handful of other ophthalmic centers in the nation.

"Until now, there's been little we could do but radiate the patient's eye and ask them to return for a follow-up exam in six months," observed Young. "But it's short-sighted to think of ocular melanoma as related only to the eyeball. Cancer can kill you, regardless of where it originates in the body.

"We've known for 10 years that this genetic marker is linked to fast-growing melanoma," she added. "It's time for ophthalmologists to expand their surgical practice to include the biopsy procedure, and use it to obtain life-saving information for their patients. Only then will we be able to develop strategic approaches to treating the cancer's effect on the whole body."

Although rare, ocular melanoma is the most common eye cancer to strike adults. The National Eye Institute reports some 2,000 newly diagnosed cases of the cancer – roughly seven in 1 million people -- per year in the United States and Canada. The disease spans the age and ethnic spectrum, and is not hereditary.

Elaine Schmidt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mednet.ucla.edu

Further reports about: Genetic UCLA biopsy melanoma metastasis physicians

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>