Public Release: 

International conference brings together world leaders in eye cancer

New studies explore latest development to improve diagnosis and treatment

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

The world's leading ocular oncology scientists and clinicians are meeting this summer to discuss the latest research and treatment developments in eye cancer. The Ocular Oncogenesis and Oncology Conference (OOO) will be held by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARV0) in partnership with the Champalimaud Foundation, July 18 - 21 at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal.

The conference will feature international experts from ophthalmic and cancer centers from around the world, including the Americas, Asia and Europe. Both basic and clinical science presentations will provide participants with a deepened understanding and knowledge of new research in treating and diagnosing malignant eye tumors, such as retinoblastoma and uveal malignant melanoma.

Featured speakers include opening keynote presenter, Bettina Ryll, MD, PhD, who founded the Melanoma Patient Network Europe after losing her husband to melanoma. The closing keynote address will be presented by Richard D. Carvajal, MD, the director of experimental therapeutics and director of the melanoma service at Columbia University Medical Center.

Presentation highlights include:

Retinoblastoma: Saving the lives and vision of children

  • New research allows easier cancer diagnosis in children: Retinoblastoma, a pediatric cancer of the eye, cannot be biopsied due to the risk of spreading the cancer outside the eye. In a new study, U.S.-based researchers found that the DNA and chromosomal changes in the aqueous humor, the clear fluid in the front of the eye, may be used to predict a cancerous tumor.

  • Research shows young children with eye cancer patients have better survival rates. A comparison study of Asian Indian children with retinoblastoma less than five years old with those five to 20 years old, found that the life and eyes survival rate is higher at the younger age.

  • Study offers a foundation for the epidemiology of malignant tumors in children. A Canadian study examined the epidemiology of retinoblastoma (as well as two other types of eye cancer) based on data from 1992 - 2010 and found a clinical correlation with those in developed countries, especially the U.S. Findings showed that the average age of diagnosis in Canada is 2.3 years with no preference to gender; Nova Scotia had the highest incidence rate among Canadian provinces -- double the national average.

Uveal melanoma: Improving outcomes for the most common eye disease

  • Several genes may play a role in the development of secondary malignant growths: Scientists in the U.K. have identified several genes and their regulators that are present in unequal amounts. Their research shows that these genes may play important roles in developing secondary malignant growths. The researchers analyzed genes in uveal melanoma, the most common adult eye cancer, and how these genes influence the progression and spread to other organs.

  • Study shows a possible link between primary skin cancer and eye cancer: Researchers in Portugal have discovered that skin melanoma demonstrated an increased risk of second primary eye melanoma and that the risk increased after a latency period between 10 - 15 years after the primary tumor. The researchers used the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registries to evaluate patients with second primary eye melanoma occurring between 1973 and 2014. A total of 509 patients developed eye melanoma as a second primary cancer.

  • Patients with genetic mutation may be at higher risk for developing eye melanoma: Scientists based in the Netherlands have discovered that certain types of cancer may be genetically linked, requiring annual screening for some patients. The findings show that uveal melanoma, cutaneous melanoma, malignant mesothelioma and renal cell carcinoma tumors were found in one or multiple members of each family studied, indicating a genetic connection and need to screen more often.

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For more information on the Ocular Oncogenesis and Oncology Conference, visit arvo.org/meetings/ooo/ocular-oncogenesis-and-oncology/.

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include nearly 12,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders.

The Champalimaud Foundation focuses on cutting-edge research and strives to stimulate new discoveries and knowledge which can improve the health and well-being of people around the world. The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, based in Lisbon, Portugal, hosts the Foundation's activities in the fields of neuroscience and oncology by means of research programs and the provision of clinical care of excellence.

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