Newswise — Honolulu, Hawaii –The findings of two new studies may help advance the diagnosis and treatment of eye cancers. The research is being presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday, April 29 – Thursday, May 3. 

Researchers prove safety of potential new treatment for most common eye cancer
Clinical studies indicate that the new IMCgp100 therapy is a safe and promising treatment for uveal melanoma, the most common primary eye cancer in adults worldwide.

Scientists administered IMCgp100 into the vein one day each week.  In one study, the medication was given to patients with melanoma, including those with advanced uveal melanoma, who had previously received anti-cancer treatments. In a second study, patients with advanced uveal melanoma who had previously received anti-cancer treatments were given IMCgp100 using a different dosing regimen. Results showed an overall one-year survival rate of 73% in the patients with uveal melanoma, nearly double the survival rate of what has previously been observed. The most common side effects of this treatment were rash, itchy skin and swelling.

“Advanced uveal melanoma has a one-year overall survival rate of approximately 40% and no cytotoxic, targeted or immunological therapy previously identified to meaningfully improve outcomes,” says first author Richard Carvajal, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center. “Thus, the 73% one-year overall survival we observed in the heavily pre-treated patients with metastatic uveal melanoma treated with IMCgp100 is quite notable, and we are excited about the continued development of IMCgp100 for patients with this disease.”

Abstract title: Safety, efficacy and biology of the gp100 TCR-based bispecific T cell redirector IMCgp100 in advanced uveal melanoma
Presentation start/end time: Tuesday, May 1, 3:30 – 5:15pm
Location: Kamehameha Exhibit Hall Abstract number: 3622 - A0283

Researchers identify eye inflammation as potential sign of leukemia relapse
A new study suggests that inflammation of the front of the eye may be an indicator that leukemia has returned in patients. 

The researchers analyzed 29 reported cases of ocular leukemic relapse confined to the anterior segment (front) of the eye. Of the studied cases, more than two thirds, or 69%, showed no evidence of bone marrow (BM) or central nervous system (CNS) relapse at the time of biopsy. However, more than one-third, 35%, developed BM or CNS relapse or both after normal BM and CNS testing at the time of the biopsy.

“This study shows that despite biopsy evidence of leukemic relapse in the anterior segment, the majority of such patients present with a normal systemic workup at the time of presentation,” says first author Thomas Gillette, MD, of Seattle Children's Hospital. “Furthermore, not only do many patients go on to develop signs of systemic relapse, there is a 50% two-year mortality rate associated with anterior segment leukemic relapse.

Abstract title: Relapse of Leukemia in the Anterior Segment of the Eye: A systematic review
Presentation start/end time:  Thursday, May 3, 8:15 – 10am
Location: Kamehameha Exhibit Hall Abstract number: 5577 - A0296

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include nearly 11,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders.

All abstracts accepted for presentation at the ARVO Annual Meeting represent previously unpublished data and conclusions. This research may be proprietary or may have been submitted for journal publication. Embargo policy: Journalists must seek approval from the presenter(s) before reporting data from paper or poster presentations. Press releases or stories on information presented at the ARVO Annual Meeting may not be released or published until the conclusion of the presentation.

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2018 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology