CHECT is delighted to announce our latest new research project. Headed up by Professor Shin-Ichi Ohnuma at University College London, the project aims to form the basis for a possible new treatment for Rb. Although current methods are extremely effective at treating retinoblastoma, many children are left with some level of visual impairment.
Previous research by Professor Ohnuma (also funded by CHECT) has identified a potential new candidate for vision-preserving retinoblastoma treatment: a gene known as PRELP. His team has found that whilst PRELP protein is highly expressed in normal retinal tissues, it is not expressed in retinoblastoma. Preliminary data from cell cultures indicate that administration of PRELP to the established laboratory retinoblastoma cell lines inhibited cancer progression. Now, Professor Ohnuma wants to confirm that these results have clinical application, by applying PRELP protein to human retinoblastoma tissues and examining the effect on retinoblastoma development. If, as expected, the study shows that administration of PRELP is a practical approach for inhibiting retinoblastoma progression, the next step will be to demonstrate the effectiveness of PRELP as a treatment for retinoblastoma in clinical trials. The advantage of such an approach over some current methods is that only affected cells will be impacted by the treatment, with no expected toxicity to surrounding normal, unaffected retinal cells, thereby preserving more of the child’s vision. We hope that this two-year project will start in April 2022.