Ocular Melanoma Research

See also: Eye Cancer, L.F. Montgomery Laboratory, Ocular Oncology and Pathology, Ocular Oncology and Pathology Clinical Fellowship, Retinoblastoma

Our ongoing basic science and clinical Ocular Oncology and Pathology research includes studying the pathobiology of eye melanoma, retinoblastoma, and orbital tumors. The most common forms of ocular tumors (eye cancer) are retinoblastoma in children and melanoma in adults.

Our ocular melanoma research is conducted in the L.F. Montgomery Laboratory, a national leader in ocular oncology research. Montgomery Lab is a base for applied Ophthalmic Pathology, in which what is learned from research in the laboratory is applied to patient care in the Ocular Oncology and Pathology service.

Hans E. Grossniklaus MD, MBA, the director of Montgomery Lab, is an Ocular Oncologist and Pathologist, board certified in both ophthalmology and anatomic pathology.  Dr. Grossniklaus' research areas of interest are pathogenesis and control of metastatic melanoma from the eye to the liver, pathobiology of age-related macular degeneration, choroidal neovascularization and drug delivery.

He works with mice to explore new methods of treating ocular melanoma, which occurs in about 5 to 10 percent of all melanoma patients. Since mice have immune systems that fight melanoma cells. This research may one day lead to a melanoma vaccine or gene therapy to treat the disease.

Based on this research, new treatments are being developed, including new strategies for treating primary ocular melanoma, retinoblastoma and lymphoma.

Our research led to the discovery in 2000 that the spread of eye melanoma to the liver first occurs as small collections of cells, called micrometastases, leading to new understanding of the most common form of eye cancer. 


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