Medical Minute 4-9: Retinoblastoma: Saving Eyes, Sparing the Body

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

For Christina Katsouris, play time is practice time. She and her twin sister Alicia dream like any other seven-year-olds.

"She has an electric guitar and I have a piano, and one day we'll maybe be in a band together," said Christina.

But Christina's dreams were interrupted when a routine eye scan picked up retinoblastoma -- cancer in her right retina.

"It's shocking. You don't believe that it's happening to your child," said Christina's dad Andreas Katsouris.

"Dear Christina, I miss you. Get well soon. Eat great. Please, please, please come back to school! I will help you feel better. Your friend, Bella."

Typically treatment means chemotherapy throughout the body for nine months and checking in to the hospital once every month.

"In order to give enough chemotherapy that it gets to the eye, we have to give enough chemotherapy that these kids get very, very sick," said Timothy Murray, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology University of Miami School.

Christina was one of the first patients to undergo a new type of targeted chemo. Doctors threaded a small catheter from her leg to her eye, and released the chemo directly into the cancer. The procedure is performed once.

"You don't lose your hair. You don't get sick. You don't have to get treated over and over again," said Dr. Murray.

Christina went home the next day.

For more information: Ivanhoe Broadcast News2745 W. Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park, FL 32789http://www.ivanhoe.comMelissa Medalie, Supervising Producer Medical Newsmmedalie@ivanhoe.comDirect Line: (407) 691-1516Viewer Line: (407) 740-0789 ext. 579

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