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Home News and Update Year 2012 Eye Cancer In Kids may Be Due To mom’s Cervical Cancer

Eye Cancer In Kids may Be Due To mom’s Cervical Cancer

Times of India
14 March 2012
Pushpa Narayan
Chennai India
Doctors Study If HPV Responsible For Retinoblastoma

Chennai doctors are examining if a virus responsible for cervical cancer in women causes eye cancer in their children.

Eye Cancer In Kids may Be Due To mom’s Cervical CancerWhen doctors-in-training at the University of Chicago were given iPad tablet computers to use on their rounds, they found that using the device helped them be more efficient.

Tamil Nadu’s biotechnology department has given Rs 3.5 crore to Vision Research Centre of Sankara Netralaya to study if the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer in women is responsible for retinoblastoma, a cancer of the retina found in children below six years.

Many of the tumours in the eyes of these children had the virus. Researchers suspect the virus may be pushed into the child from the mother during delivery. Such transmission has been proven for HIV.

Sankara Nethralaya will work with experts from Institute of Bioinformatics, Bangalore and John Hopkins University on the project that may help doctors prevent and treat retinoblastoma in children. About 1,500 retinoblastoma cases are reported every year in India, mostly in children aged 1-2 years. Many cases are treatable, but 60% of the cases are detected late. So, surgeons are forced to remove the eye to save the child.

Retinoblastoma is believed to be caused by genetic mutation. More than half the cases though don’t have a family history of eye cancer. In these cases, HPV is a suspect. Dr Sangeetha B Desai, author of the study published in Paediatric Blood Cancer, a medical journal, last month, said the findings strengthen the hypothesis that HPV plays a role in development of retinoblastosis.

“We want to know why we are seeing HPV in eye tumours,” said Sankara Nethralaya deputy director research S Krishnakumar. He will head the retinoblastoma project.

Studies by Sankara Nethralaya in 2009 had showed presence of HPV in eye tumour samples. HPV 16 was detected in 12 out of 21 tumours. Children younger than 18 months were found to be significantly associated with the presence of HPV DNA, compared to children above 24 months.

That gives enough reason for scientists to suspect that the virus is pushed to the baby from the mother while the uterus contracts during labour.

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