Bioluminescence Imaging Used for Eye Cancer Detection

Newswise —At the moment, doctors rely on biopsy analysis to determine the progression of eye cancer. However, researchers now believe that a new technology, bioluminescence imaging (BLI), will allow doctors to detect tumors earlier and quickly choose a method of treatment that doesn’t necessarily involve eye surgery.

BLI is a new technology that uses the making and giving off of light by an organism to map diseases in a non-invasive way. Scientists have harnessed this technology to delicately detect and monitor various diseases, including eye cancer. BLI has several advantages over biopsy analysis, including in vivo monitoring, higher sensitivity, easier use and an overall more accurate correlation between cell numbers detected and tumor growth.

A study detailed in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s peer-reviewed Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (“Non-invasive visualization of retinoblastoma growth and metastasis via bioluminescence imaging”) shows how the researchers, led by Qian Huang, MD, PhD, of the First People’s Hospital in Shanghai, China, were able to effectively create human eye tumors in mice using particular genes to label eye cancer.

BLI was then performed on the mice using the NightOwl LB 981 Molecular Imaging System to monitor the growth and succession of these created tumors.

“BLI allowed sensitive and quantitative localization and monitoring of intraocular and metastatic tumor growth in vivo and thus might be a useful tool to study cancer biology as well as anti-cancer therapies,” said Huang.

Eye cancer is the most common and aggressive form of cancer found in children under the age of 5. As with most cancers, locating the tumors during the early stages of the disease is key. “Eye removal is usually performed for larger tumors. Small tumors are treated using therapeutic approaches such as chemotherapy. Because of the fast progression, early detection is important for preservation of vision, eye retention and even survival,” says Huang.

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) – a peer-reviewed journal published monthly online and in print (through December 2009), IOVS publishes results from original hypothesis-based clinical and laboratory research studies. IOVS ranks No. 4 in Impact Factor among ophthalmology journals.

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,500 eye and vision researchers from over 80 countries. The Association encourages and assists research, training, publication and knowledge-sharing in vision and ophthalmology. For more information, visit www.arvo.org.

Identifying Patients at Risk for Fatal Cardiovascular Event

A new study indicates dentists can play a potentially life-saving role in health care by identifying patients at risk of fatal heart attacks and referring them to physicians for further evaluation.

Published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, the study followed 200 patients (101 women and 99 men) in private dental practices in Sweden whose dentists used a computerized system, “HeartScore,” to calculate the risk of a patient dying from a cardiovascular event within a 10-year period.

Designed by the European Society of Cardiology, HeartScore measures cardiovascular disease risk in persons aged 40-65 by factoring the person’s age, sex, total cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure and smoking status.

Patients with HeartScores of 10 percent or higher, meaning they had a 10 percent or higher risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke within a 10-year period, were told by dentists to seek medical advice regarding their condition.

Twelve patients in the study, all of them men, had HeartScores of 10 percent or higher. All women participating in the study had HeartScores of 5 percent or less.

Of the 12 male patients with HeartScores of 10 percent or higher, nine sought further evaluation by a medical care provider who decided that intervention was indicated for six of the patients. Two patients did not follow the dentist’s recommendation to seek further medical evaluation and one patient was only encouraged by his dentist to discontinue smoking. Physicians for three patients were not able to confirm their risk for cardiovascular disease.

All 200 patients enrolled in the study were 45 years of age or older with no history of cardiovascular disease, medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes and had not visited a physician during the previous year to assess their glucose, cholesterol or blood pressure levels.

The study’s authors conclude that oral health care professionals can identify patients who are unaware of their risk of developing serious complications as a result of cardiovascular disease and who are in need of medical interventions.

According to the authors,

“With emerging data suggesting an association between oral and non-oral diseases, and with the possibility of performing chairside screening tests for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, oral health care professionals may find themselves in an opportune position to enhance the overall health and well-being of their patients.”

About the American Dental Association

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing more than 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit the Association’s Web site at www.ada.org