[ RadSafe ] Researcher finds revolutionary way to treat eye cancer

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon Aug 30 12:12:23 CDT 2010

Interesting.  I assume it works by increasing the density of the fluid inside the eyeball, thus providing more absorption of the radiation before it reaches other structures.  It will be interesting to see if there are any other situation where a similar technique can be used.  Liquid internal shielding; who'd a thunk. (for our international audience, this is a dialect contraction for "who would have thought")  

I can not  comment on whether or not it works as stated, but I do have to give Dr. Oliver high marks for thinking outside the box.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of ROY HERREN
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 9:10 PM
To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Researcher finds revolutionary way to treat eye cancer

Public release date: 27-Aug-2010
Contact: David Kelly
david.kelly at ucdenver.edu
University of Colorado Denver 

Researcher finds revolutionary way to treat eye cancer
Treatment may prevent blindness
AURORA, Colorado (August 27, 2010) – Rare but devastating, eye cancer can strike 
anyone at any time and treating it often requires radiation that leaves half of 
all patients partially blind.
But a new technique developed by Scott Oliver, MD, assistant professor at the 
University of Colorado School of Medicine, may change all that.
Oliver has discovered that silicone oil applied inside the eye can block up to 
55 percent of harmful radiation, enough to prevent blindness in most patients.
His findings, published in the July issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, may 
revolutionize the way eye cancer is treated.
"If you get diagnosed with eye cancer you want to know, `Is this going to kill 
me? Is this going to make me go blind?''' said Oliver, director of the 
Ophthalmic Oncology Center at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute on the 
University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus. "I believe this treatment will 
allow you to keep your eye and keep your vision."
Oliver focused on choroidal melanoma of the eye or uveal cancer, the most common 
and dangerous form of a disease that strikes over 2,000 people each year. It can 
spread quickly to the liver and lungs which is often fatal. The cancer can occur 
in people of any age - fair skin and sun exposure are thought to be a leading 
Physicians often treat it with a technique called plaque brachytherapy. Surgeons 
attach a gold cap containing radioactive seeds to the white part of the eye. For 
one week the radiation slowly incinerates the tumor but it also causes long-term 

"Radiation injures blood vessels and nerves in the back of the eye," Oliver 
said. "Half of all patients are legally blind in three years in the treated 
In his quest to save their eyesight, Oliver experimented with a series of 
substances that would block radiation from striking critical structures while 
allowing it to hit the tumor. He discovered that silicone oil, already used to 
treat retinal detachment, could screen out a majority of harmful radiation. 

"You don't have to block out all the radiation to protect the eye because the 
vital structures in the eye can tolerate low doses of radiation," he said.
Oliver experimented on cadaver eyes and tested the oil on animals in the 
laboratory and found no harmful side-effects.
"We are now at the point where we can embark on a clinical trial," he said. 
"This is a significant development in the way we treat this disease. In the 
past, we could save the eye with radiation but we saved vision only half the 
time. With this treatment, I believe we will do much better in the future."
Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver's School of Medicine work to 
advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, 
educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children's 
Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs 
Medical Center. Degrees offered by the UC Denver School of Medicine include 
doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician 
assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado's 
Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado 
system. For additional news and information, please visit the UC Denver newsroom 


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