In January of 2018, ECF fellow Dr. Sonal Chaugule, alongside Dr. Paul Finger and Dr. J. Park, published the study “Topical Chemotherapy for Giant Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia (OSSN) of the Conjunctiva and Cornea: Is Surgery Really Necessary?” in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology (IJO). We are pleased to announce that this research has recently been chosen for the Best of IJO Awards!
A feature at the recent International Society for Ophthalmic Oncology (ISOO) 2019 meeting, the 2017 American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting, as well as our very own blog and Visionary newsletter, the study showed the surprising efficacy of chemotherapy eye drops. They found that even large squamous cancers of the conjunctiva can be cured with chemotherapy eye drops alone (no surgery). The drops had marvelous results: no evidence of vision-limiting complications, no tumor recurrences, and no patients required additional treatment for their giant OSSN. For all patients in the study, their cancer was cured, proving to researchers that topical chemotherapy drops were not only safe, but also effective as treatment for “giant” OSSN.
Hailing from Kampala, Uganda, Dr. Ann Musika has completed her 6-month ophthalmic oncology fellowship training sponsored by the Eye Cancer Foundation.
For the past six months, Dr. Musika has trained at Sheba Medical Centre at the Goldschleger Eye Institute under supervision of the director of the ocular oncology unit, Dr. Vicktoria Dai. Her training included all aspects of eye cancer care––from diagnosis, to treatment, to intravitreal injections for radiation retinopathy. Additionally, she took part in various research studies at Goldschleger’s ophthalmology department.
The Eye Cancer Foundation places an emphasis world-class training as well as practical and applicable training. So while Dr. Musika learned all aspects of eye cancer treatment practiced at Goldschleger’s, she specifically focused on treatments and techniques that would be just as readily available to her in Kampala.
“It is with great pleasure that I express my sincere gratitude
to you for the great support that you offered me…all this wouldn’t have been possible without your generous support. The knowledge and skills acquired from this training I hope to apply to improve the quality of care for our ocular oncology patients in my nation. I am forever grateful.”
Prior to Dr. Musika, there were no fellowship-trained eye cancer specialists in Uganda. Consequently, patients with eye cancer suffered not only from their disease, but also from a lack of specialized care. However, now upon the completion of her training, Dr. Musika intends to return to Uganda and provide her nation with much-needed specialty care.
To Learn More about the Eye Cancer Foundation, its mission, and fellowship opportunities, visit the website at www.eyecancercure.com.
Every two years, eye cancer specialists worldwide convene at the International Society of Ocular Oncology Conference in order to review latest research and encourage international collaboration within the field of ophthalmic oncology.
The final day of the ISOO was dedicated solely to cancers of the conjunctiva, lid, and orbit. Another day filled with research findings and discussion on proper treatment and lesser-known, evidently effective therapeutic techniques.
OSSN: Is Surgery Really Necessary?
Is surgery necessary? Dr. Sonal Chaugule asked the question in the paper, Topical chemotherapy for giant ocular surface squamous neoplasia of the conjunctiva and cornea, published alongside Dr. Paul Finger and Dr. Jennifer Park. In the case of ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN), the standard of treatment for years has been surgical excision with adjuvant cryotherapy. However, Chaugule and Finger performed this study in order to compare chemotherapeutic eye drops versus the surgical standard. The eye drops alone have the benefits of convenience and avoidance of complications (however unlikely) from surgery. Ultimately, chemotherapy was found to be sufficient treatment for even giant OSSN. The found that “ topical therapy treated the entire ocular surface and avoided surgical intervention … topical chemotherapy [also] resulted in less scarring and stem cell loss compared to [surgery]. Clearly, larger tumors than widely expected can be controlled with topical chemotherapy alone.”
Our now-graduated fellow Dr. Ekaterina Semenova presented on an already-blogged about, very unique case. A patient had only one functioning eye, and had previously undergone a corneal transplant in this eye. After treating this patient with Palladium-103 plaque brachytherapy through the natural and transplanted cornea, the tumor was found to be controlled and the patient’s vision was conserved.
Read about this case in greater detail on our blog here.
Super-Thick Amniotic Membrane Grafts for Eye Cancer Patients
Another ECF graduate, Dr. Puneet Jain, presented on Super Thick Amniotic Membrane Graft (ST-AMG) Successfully Used for Ocular Surface Reconstruction. Compared to the often-used single-layer amniotic membrane graft, the larger grafts allow for greater patient comfort, as well as greater ease of suture, increased likelihood of remaining in place for the required duration, as well as decreased likelihood of tearing.
Read about this case in greater detail on our blog here.
Keratoacanthoma: An Unusual Location!
A fellow of Dr. Santosh Honavar at The Centre for Sight in Hyderabad, India, Dr. Ankit Singh Tomar will be joining us as the most recent Eye Cancer Foundation fellow. He presented a unique case of a conjunctival keratoacanthoma on the tarsal conjunctiva. It was the first reported case of this extremely unique pathology, and was managed surgically without complications at The Centre for Sight.
We hope to see more great research from Dr. Tomar after he joins us for his fellowship training in ophthalmic oncology her at The New York Eye Cancer Center.
Welcome to our new fellow, Dr. Tomar!
The End, For Now
This marks the final day of the conference and it has since come to a close, though many plans have been made for international cooperation, multi-center databases, and collaborative research so that eye cancer patients worldwide will one day not only have access to care, but have access to the best care we have available. Progress is being made behind the scenes as we speak, and we hope to bring you amazing news for the next conference in 2021.
Until then, thank you for your attention and we thank the amazing physicians and researchers for their great work.
Remember — you can always be a part of our research and international fellowship training by giving a gift to The Eye Cancer Foundation. Dozens of papers this year were presented due to funding from The ECF.
"Very well treated by Dr. Finger. He explained everything I needed to know about my issue with detail and attention, putting me at ease and giving me confidence to handle this problem for the rest of my life.”