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.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.