Gene breakthrough welcomed by Daisy's Eye Cancer Fund

First published in News

AN Oxford-based charity supporting young children suffering eye cancer has welcomed a breakthrough in research.

Abby White, 36, from Iffley, runs Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund, which supports families whose children suffer retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is a rapidly developing eye cancer affecting about 45 babies a year in the UK under the age of five. Ms White inherited the condition from her father and set up the charity in 2004.

The fund’s medical director Dr Brenda Gallie, based in Toronto, Canada, has published new findings in Lancet Oncology, which are set to change clinical practice.

She said research revealed that a single gene had been identified as being responsible for a new type of retinoblastoma.

Dr Gallie added: “The common type of retinoblastoma can be inherited, so the child’s other eye and infant relatives are at risk to develop cancer.

“When we remove the eye of a very young baby with a large tumour and discover it is the new oncogene-driven retinoblastoma, there is zero risk for the other eye or infant blood relatives.”

Ms White said: “I’m very pleased with this breakthrough.

“Children are diagnosed earliest when parents notice the eye has a white, instead of black, pupil in flash photos or dim light.”

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