Eye Cancer Care in Ethiopia

The Eye Cancer Foundation’s “2020 Campaign” claims another country, Ethiopia! We supported intensive training of a local ophthalmologist on advancements in retinoblastoma research, treatment, and diagnosis. Our most recent ECF grant recipient, Dr. Abu Amare, an ophthalmologist in Ethiopia, just completed a  6-month retinoblastoma fellowship at the Rasoole-E-Akram Hospital of The Iranian University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran.

Dr. Amare notes of his experience, “The fellowship program made a big difference in my skill and knowledge in diagnosing retinoblastoma…” He also is grateful for the opportunity to have been able to shadow physicians in different disciplines, such as oculoplastic surgery, learning about enucleation and evisceration — he also observed interventional neuroradiology for intra-arterial chemotherapy and surgeons performing plaque radiotherapy. Dr. Amare was able to connect with his mentors, as they were polite and courteous and took their time to truly teach  him techniques, such as RetCam photography, that he called “profound to the maximum” and with “no limitations.” Further, he was exposed to ophthalmic pathology, including tissue processing and examinations under light microscopy for a variety of eye tumors. These valuable skills for an ophthalmologist specializing in retinoblastoma are necessary for its early diagnosis and treatment.

 

With the help of the ECF, Ethiopia has gained a learned and more knowledgeable ophthalmologist who can help in preventing blindness and retinoblastoma-metastasis within the Ethiopian population. The Foundation has given Dr. Amare the tools necessary to organize the first ever eye cancer center in his home country. On his plan to share what he has learned as a fellow, Dr. Amare says that he would “start with organizing the appropriate instruments and equipment to establish a dedicated team…creation of awareness [about retinoblastoma] ranges from policy makers down to different levels, specialties, and supports.” Such comprehensive training through the fellowship program that the ECF provides will save the sight and lives of thousands of people, for generations to come.

 

We will continue to focus on unserved and underserved countries with little to no eye cancer care. The Eye Cancer Foundation will continue to help Dr. Amare organize his ambitious and driven team, and plans to prevent and cure retinoblastoma in Ethiopia.

 

For more information on The Eye Cancer Foundation and its mission, visit www.eyecancercure.com.

 

To donate and help sponsor more specialty training in unserved and underserved countries, go to www.eyecancercure.com/donate.

 

 


A “Biomarker” for Conjunctival Melanoma

The COMS Study

What causes conjunctival melanoma (CoM)? Because of its rarity, much about CoM is unknown. Current medicine has yet to truly pinpoint any underlying genetic factors affecting CoM. In fact, no molecular drivers have been clearly defined in association with metastasis, recurrence prognosis, cell type, or other characteristic factors of CoM. In response to this gap in literature, a large multi-center study was launched. Over a dozen eye cancer centers collaborated in order to determine biomarkers that may indicate risk for metastasis or tumor growth.

With access to a large sample of nearly 100 patients from eight different eye cancer centers around the world, the researchers behind this study sought to clearly define key biomarkers of CoM metastatic risk, and to correlate these biomarkers to clinical features and outcomes. This association of molecular indicator to clinical feature would ultimately help treatment providers identify patients who are at greater risk for metastasis, and help researchers identify possible molecular targets for therapy.

At the conclusion of this study, it was found that in deletion mutations in a gene region called “chr10” (normally consisting of tumor-suppressing genes) significantly correlated with metastasis, lymphatic invasion, and increasing tumor thickness.

This study was the first to characterize chromosomal copy number alterations (CNAs) in such depth and with such a large and well-defined sample. The result is a more clearly-defined biomarker as a CoM risk factor than there has been in previous literature. The next plan of action with this newfound information, however, would be to apply this and other relevant research in order to further develop more effective therapies and accurate prognosis.

 

Click here for the full-text!

 

 

Check out The Eye Cancer Foundation for more information on the latest eye cancer research, charitable accomplishments, and for more information on how to donate and support new research and education!


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