Raising Awareness and Funds to Support Research and Programs at the Kellogg Eye Center

MHBB 2018: MARCH 15 & 16, 2018


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This Year's Research Program



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MHBB 2017 Donations
will go toward specific amazing research
at Kellogg Eye Center

Every year, the proceeds from March Hoops To BEAT Blindness are dedicated to a specific research program at the Kellogg Eye Center. The program is chosen for its innovative approach and focus on treating and finding cures to blinding conditions.

This year, MHBB 2017 funds will go to support the tremendous research of Dr. Cagri Besirli, M.D., PhD. whose work focuses on treating retina detachments, macular degeneration, and other retinal therapies. One of Dr. Besirli's current research programs is investigating a new cancer drug originally developed for glioma (a form of brain cancer) and testing its potential for treating retinoblastoma.

What is Exciting About This Drug?

Dr. Besirli is investigating this drug specifically for treating retinoblastoma. This is the disease that my son, Brendan, survived when he was 9 months old. It is a dangerous form of cancer!

Retinoblastoma and other eye-based cancers, as well as many of the treatments for these conditions, are extremely damaging to the eye and have high risks of partial or more complete blindness in the eye. Treatments such as this drug focus on both eliminating the dangerous cancer and preserving vision.

Most forms of treatment for retinoblastoma try to destroy the cancer cells. Unless all the retinoblastoma cells are killed, the surviving cells will grow and create more retinoblastoma cells. In an effort to get them all, most treatments damage healthy eye cells as well as the cancer cells. HOWEVER, this drug appears to show great promise in both its potential to kill the cancer cells AND causing less damage to healthy cells!

How is This Drug Being Tested by Dr. Besirli?

So far, Dr. Besirli has focused on the toxicity of the drug. That is, the affect it has on healthy cells and how effectively it kills cancer cells. The initial tests and data suggest this drug is not as bad as others in terms of how it affects healthy cells. And in fact, it appears to be quite effective at killing cancer cells. Now Dr. Besirli is preparing to test how effectively this drug can kill retinoblastoma cells.

How Does this Help BEAT Blindness?

Clearly if a way can be found to kill retinoblastoma cells, it would be a very promising drug therapy. And if, at the same time, the drug inflicts minimal damage on healthy cells, vision can potentially be preserved.

Dr. Besirli also specializes in retinal therapy. Some cancer drugs, eye treatments, and diseases also harm the healthy retina cells. As effective treatments are found, there is also the need to treat damaged retina cells. Dr. Besirli's work and research also helps many patients with retina conditions.

How Will MHBB Help?

To thoroughly test this drug, many cell cultures need to be developed, tested, and evaluated. The drug is also expensive to produce and several rounds of testing are required. MHBB funds can be used to provide these materials and help support the progress on this line of research. Funds can also be used to support analysis activities, publishing, and grant applications and proposals.

More study is needed! Your donation to MHBB 2017 will support this important line of study at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center !