CUHK Ophthalmology develops potential treatment for retinoblastoma

CUHK Ophthalmology develops potential treatment for retinoblastoma

 

Retinoblastoma (RB) is the most common intraocular cancer in children worldwide. Severe or late-stage disease may require enucleation or lead to fatality. Current treatments of retinoblastoma mainly involve combinations of chemotherapy, cryotherapy and laser-based therapy, which are known to produce complications such as retinal tear and detachment. In addition, there are potential side-effects associating with chemotherapies such as immunodeficiency and infertility. Therefore, alternate treatment for retinoblastoma is urgently needed.

Publishing in a leading international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a research team from the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, found that a growth hormone receptor has a significant role in retinoblastoma [1]. By collaborating with a Nobel Prize laureate Professor Andrew Schally from the University of Miami (USA), we demonstrated that blocking the growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor (GHRH-R) specially induced cell death in retinoblastoma cells but not other retinal cells. These results suggest GHRH-R blockers could be developed for retinoblastoma therapy.

1. Chu, W. K., Law, K. S., Chan, S. O., Yam, J. C. S., Chen, L. J., Zhang, H., Cheung, H. S., Block, N. L., Schally, A. V. and Pang, C. P. (2016) Antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor induce apoptosis specifically in retinoblastoma cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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Blocking the growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor with MIA-602 or MIA-690 significantly induced cell death (as quantified by the sub-G1 population) in retinoblastoma cells.