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Advanced multi-functional in vivo retinal imaging for ocular oncology

Principal Investigator:
  • Zaid Mammo, University of British Columbia
Team Members:
  • Myeong Jin Ju, University of British Columbia
  • Katherine Paton, BC Cancer Agency
  • Marinko Sarunic, Simon Fraser University
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • CIHR

Project Overview

Need for project: Choroidal tumors present clinicians with many challenges. The overlap between clinical and imaging findings combined with the difficulty of performing choroidal biopsies can create diagnostic dilemmas. Obtaining a diagnosis is paramount in optimizing patient outcomes, minimizing systemic complications and reducing inadvertent treatment of benign lesions. There continues to be a need for high-resolution, non-invasive assessment of the choroidal microstructure to aid in diagnosis of such lesions.

Goal of project: To investigate the utility of a state-of-the-art non-invasive Polarization-Sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography (PS-OCT) instrument to assess choroidal tumor specific changes to the melanin pigment within the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and choroid. It is hypothesized that qualitative and quantitative measurements of these changes can be applied as an adjunct diagnostic/prognostic tool to the standard-of-care imaging of choroidal tumors.

Project description: Patients with untreated choroidal tumors will be prospectively recruited at the provincial tertiary referral ocular oncology clinic at Vancouver General hospital. Subjects will be imaged with our prototype PS-OCT at baseline, 3-month, 6-month and 1-year follow-up. These images will be compared and validated to standard imaging techniques and clinical diagnosis. We aim to identify novel biomarkers for malignant potential and transformation and hence facilitating early diagnosis and intervention.

Future impact: Tumor-related melanin pigment alterations, imaged with PS-OCT, could provide diagnostic clues in the evaluation of choroidal tumors. This novel modality, in combination with current techniques, could facilitate early non-invasive differentiation of malignant tumors from benign entities. These findings would help in the management of patients with choroidal tumors, reduce the need for invasive biopsies, burden of treatment and follow-up. PS-OCT may also aid in prognostication of malignant tumors.