New clinical trial for early-stage eye melanoma offers study of targeted therapy

Source: Medial Xpress, March 2017

A first-of-its-kind, potentially groundbreaking new option for treating a form of eye cancer is now in its first phase-1 clinical research trial at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. The treatment, called light-activated AU-011, developed by Aura Biosciences of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an investigational drug that targets and aims to selectively destroy malignant cancer cells in patients who have life-and vision-threatening eye cancer, also known as, ocular melanoma. Ocular melanoma is a malignant cancer that develops within the eye. It affects as many as 3,000 people per year in the United States. While melanoma is often associated with skin cancer from sun exposure, ocular melanoma does not relate to the sun, developing instead from abnormal pigmented cells in the eye.

The danger with ocular melanoma is that there are often no symptoms, making it difficult to detect resulting in the potential of quietly spreading throughout other parts of the body. Risk factors include being Caucasian, fair-skinned, and the risk of developing the disease also increases as we age. The best way to detect ocular melanoma is to have an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam by a board certified ophthalmologist.

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