Findings from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis researchers show that spleen tyrosine kinase is epigenetically upregulated in retinoblastoma, suggesting that blocking its activity could help treat the disease.1 The results provide a potential new indication for spleen tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and the researchers are already working on an ocular formulation of one.
Retinoblastoma is a rare childhood cancer of the eye most commonly caused by inactivating mutations in the retinoblastoma 1 (RB1) tumor suppressor gene. Although more than 95% of children in the U.S. are cured of the disease, treatment requires chemotherapy or localized radiation therapy, and patients who do not adequately respond are at risk for vision loss. In developing nations the prognosis is worse, as the cancer can metastasize if not caught early.
In 2010, St. Jude and Washington University formed