World first global research registry for eye lymphoma

15 Jun, 2023

Queensland Eye Institute Foundation is working with university researchers to combat eye lymphoma, a form of cancer that causes severe floaters and sight loss and may spread to the brain.

About eye lymphoma

When certain immune cells become cancerous, they cause lymphoma. B-cell lymphoma can occur inside the eye.
This cancer affects the vitreous (the gel-like fluid inside the eyeball) and the retina (the layer of cells at the back of the eye used to process visual signals) and so is called vitreoretinal lymphoma.

Difficult to diagnose

Diagnosing eye lymphoma is difficult and often delayed.
Multiple biopsy surgeries are often needed to confirm a diagnosis of this type of lymphoma.

Current treatments

Treatments for common lymphoma, which often begins in the neck or around the lungs, have improved greatly.
Many people can be cured of lymphoma when it occurs in these parts of the body.
However, this is not the case for eye lymphoma.
Even with treatment, about two-thirds people diagnosed with eye lymphoma die within five years.

Research challenge

Eye lymphoma is a rare disease, which poses unique challenges.
Most of what we know about the disease comes from small studies.
To develop better treatments and possibly a cure, we need more real world information about current clinical care.
In particular, this information should come from diverse social, geographic and cultural experiences.
It’s essential to understand how different treatments affect women and men from different backgrounds to identify treatments most likely to lead to a cure.

International Vitreoretinal B-cell Lymphoma Registry

Clinical registries are a way to track current and emerging clinical care practices.
Researchers use registry data to better understand cancer care in the general population.
Data gathered in this way can guide future work aimed at improving survival and alleviating disease impact.
The Queensland Eye Institute Foundation and South Bank Medical Group are working with ophthalmologist Professor Justine Smith, an internationally renowned expert in vitreoretinal lymphoma based at Flinders University, to set up the first international registry for eye lymphoma.
This registry collects clinical information via a secure website directly from ophthalmologists who are treating patients with eye lymphoma.
More than 150 ophthalmologists from every continent (except Antarctica!) are interested in joining this initiative.
Doctors from around the world are already logging information about treatments they are using to manage eye lymphoma and providing powerful data to help us better treat and care for people with this rare and devasting eye cancer.

For more detail about this research, read this article co-authored by Professors Justine Smith (Flinders University) and Mark Radford (Queensland Eye Institute), published in BMJ Open: The International Vitreoretinal B-Cell Lymphoma Registry: a protocol paper

Supporting QEI Foundation

Queensland Eye Institute Foundation is Queensland’s largest independent academic research institute devoted to eye-related health and diseases and with your help, we can work towards new treatments and cures. At QEIF our mission is to reduce eye disease, improve eye health, and ultimately eliminate preventable blindness in the community. With no government funding, QEIF’s survival relies solely on the generosity of you and the community.

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