Retinoblastoma is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the retina. It is the most common intraocular malignancy in children, although it can occur at any age. It may present in one eye or in both eyes. Retinoblastoma rarely spreads from the eye to nearby tissue or other parts of the body.
Treatment for retinoblastoma continues to evolve, with primary management focusing on focal treatments for early disease and systemic chemotherapy combined with focal consolidation for most other tumors. Although survival rates for retinoblastoma in the developed world are above 90 percent, traditional treatments could involve removal of the eye, systemic chemotherapy, radiation, and others. However, at Smilow Cancer Hospital they are using an innovative treatment called Supraselective intra-arterial chemotherapy (SIAC) that delivers cancer-fighting drugs directly behind the eye where the tumor was located. SIAC can successfully treat a retinoblastoma so that the eye can be saved and it also can render radiation unnecessary, sparing children the long term consequences of radiation treatment.
There are not many ophthalmologists that specialize in ocular cancer treatment. Miguel Materin, MD, Director of Ocular Oncology, is one of about 300 such physicians in the world. Dr. Materin is an internationally recognized ocular oncologist with interests in ocular melanoma, retinoblastoma, choroidal hemangiomas, retinal hemangioblastomas, metastases, astrocytic tumors and tumors related to other conditions or syndromes, like von Hippel Lindau disease, Tuberous Sclerosis among others.