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Eye Witness
11 July 2016

Eye Witness

Retinoblastoma is rare type of eye cancer (fluorescently stained tumour cells pictured) that develops in the light-sensitive tissue (retina) of young children. Success of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for retinoblastoma is dependent on many variables, including whether the cancer affects one eye or both eyes, and the location and size of the tumour. A protein called survivin – which works to inhibit cell death – has been associated with retinoblastoma’s resistance to chemotherapy, and aiding the survival of cancerous cells. Found in high levels in the blood serum of retinoblastoma patients, researchers investigated targeting survivin using a drug called YM155. They found that using YM155 in combination with chemotherapy increased the death of retinoblastoma tumour cells compared with using either treatment alone. This finding could lead to a more effective treatment strategy, which requires a lower dose of chemotherapy so reducing its unpleasant side effects.

Written by Katie Panteli

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