Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Biology of a Cure?

Why do some small and unremarkable primary uveal melanomas metastasize while larger, more invasive eye tumors do not?

What factors cause an existing choroidal nevus to transform into a choroidal melanoma? And how are those factors different from or similar to the ones that cause uveal melanomas to arise de novo (new)?

How on earth is it possible that the rates of incidence (the number of people diagnosed) and mortality (number of people dying) for uveal melanoma remain eerily unchanged for decades despite diagnosing and treatment advances?

Just what is uveal melanoma (also called choroidal melanoma, eye melanoma, ocular melanoma, intraocular melanoma, eye cancer and ciliary body melanoma)? More importantly, how do we successfully treat this rare and puzzling cancer?

Uveal Melanoma: A Model for Exploring Fundamental Cancer Biology does not answer any of these questions. So far, much of the research on uveal melanoma chromosomes, molecules and proteins has only confirmed long-standing clinical observations that tumor pigmentation, diameter, blood vessel morphology, cell type, race, eye color influences its prevalence, progression and prognosis.

In other words, all this cellular research has merely affirmed on a genetic level what was already known on a clinical level. Real progress will only be achieved when this genetic research is translated into improved patient outcomes - a process which appears decades away from reality.

If, as one of the authors argues, that uveal melanoma is "an excellent model for the study of cancer biology in general," than a more multi-disciplinary and-faceted approach is warranted.

That kind of support is not only going to come from the lab but also from the larger community of medical professionals and their patients. This was a fascinating book which ironically proves that research alone will not lead us to see a cure.

It’s your sight.

It’s your life.

Together, we can see a cure.™

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good one , thanks for sharing wonderful post, amazing to see that such biological model works out for some disease to.

CTCA Philadelphia