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Eye Cancer Research and Breakthrough

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Cancer was initially believed to be incurable. This dreadful disease can now be cured due to advancements in the technologies and medical science. Cancer in simple words can be described as rapid multiplication or division of cells which is the fundamental unit of life. These cells come together and form a cancer tumor. Not all tumors are hazardous. Benign tumors are considered to be harmless but malignant tumors are considered to be dangerous. These malignant tumors give rise to cancer.

Eye cancer is one of the rarest types of cancers. When cancerous cells originate in the eye, it is called as primary eye cancer. One needs to be aware of this cancer as the symptoms of this cancer start showing in the later stages. Regular visit to your eye specialist is a must as it's the eye specialist who alone can detect the presence of these cancerous cells in the initial stages of cancer. Early detection of cancer increases the chances of a successful treatment.

Eye Cancer Research:

Since, eye cancer is one of the rarest types of cancer; many scientists are striving hard to discover the factors responsible for eye cancer. Eye cancer research includes updating of new information and treatment or therapies.

  • Role of genes: Genetics plays a vital role in diagnosis of eye cancer and detection. Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are the genes that check or regulate the growth of cells. Oncogenes look after the growth or multiplication of cells whereas tumor suppressor genes kill the older cells. As we go through the definition of cancer, we can say that genes are one of the factors that can cause eye cancer growth. Identifying gene changes is one of the active researches going on in the field of cancer. One has to know the medical history of the family. New generations have higher risk of developing cancer if their parents have had eye cancer.
  • Target Treatment:

    Since, changes in the genetic function of genes, such as oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes cause cancer, new drugs that target these genetic changes are being developed. These drugs are said to have less severe side-effects than those of chemotherapy drugs. But, they are not considered to be totally safe. They too have side-effects which can be severe.

  • Immunotherapy:

    Immune system is the body's own defense system. White Blood Corpuscles (WBC's) are also called 'soldiers of the body' as they kill any foreign viruses or bacteria. Monoclonal antibodies, cytokines, vaccines and other immunotherapies are also one of the best approaches towards treating eye cancer but can also treat lymphoma and melanoma.

Ipilimumab, a type of drug called monocional antibody improves overall resistive power of the body.

Above mentioned discoveries of new drugs are not yet used in practice. Eye Cancer Breakthrough: Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that is generally observed in children. Scientists at St. Jude's Research Hospital have invented a new treatment that reduces the size of tumor in retinoblastoma without causing any side-effects as observed in standard chemotherapy. This new treatment is not only effective in treating retinoblastoma but is also effective in cases of other cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.

The team at St. Jude's Research Hospital proved that p53 pathway was triggered in initial stages of retinoblastoma and that the molecule called as MDMX when in excess blocked the trigger of apoptosis. Apoptosis is body's defensive mechanism of destroying abnormal cells that may turn into cancerous cells. Initially, scientists believed that p53 pathway was triggered in most of the cases of cancer except in the case of retinoblastoma. But, the discovery at St. Jude's Research Hospital changed the belief. A new molecule called as nutlin-3 was invented to prevent the block of apoptosis by the molecule MDMX. The molecule nutlin-3 combined with the drug called as topotecan is being investigated for the treatment of retinoblastoma.

Many new techniques and drugs are being discovered for successful treatment of eye cancer without causing severe side-effects.

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