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Indiana University School of Medicine ophthalmology resident co-edits book on children’s eye cancer


Aparna Ramasubramanian, M.D., has published “Retinoblastoma,” a comprehensive textbook that covers all aspects of retinoblastoma management. Retinoblastoma is a pediatric eye cancer that usually occurs in children younger than 5. Her co-editor is eye cancer expert Carol Shields, M.D., of the Wills Eye Institute.

“Retinoblastoma is one of the success stories in medicine, with the survival rates being greater than 95 percent in developed countries,” Dr. Ramasubramanian said. “The survival rate is much lower in underdeveloped nations; the cumulative survival of this type of cancer is around 42 percent worldwide. The idea for the book grew from that — if someone wanted to treat retinoblastoma anywhere in the world, which one reference book would be most beneficial?”

Dr. Shields said the textbook will help clinicians around the world.

“The textbook ‘Retinoblastoma’ is a spectacular contribution to our understanding of this malignancy,” Dr. Shields said. “Retinoblastoma, the most common cancer of the eye, affects children worldwide and can be a major threat in some countries. Our goal was to invite experts from around the world to contribute to this volume in an effort to unify our experiences.

“This is the most comprehensive publication on the clinical features and management of retinoblastoma. Together with Dr. Ramasubramanian and the numerous contributors, we have diligently worked to make this idea a reality. Now clinicians throughout all continents can understand the current strategies and outcomes of retinoblastoma management.”

The book contains 36 chapters and more than 70 contributors from many countries including England, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States. In addition to co-editing the book, Dr. Ramasubramanian co-wrote eight chapters. Tim Corson, Ph.D., an IU Department of Ophthalmology faculty member and researcher, also co-authored a chapter in the book. Dr. Corson is researching retinoblastoma biology and potential novel therapies.

“This is a major achievement and contribution to the field,” Dr. Corson said. “It is a rare opportunity and a great success for a resident to tackle a project of this significance.”

Dr. Ramasubramanian attended medical school and did her ophthalmology residency in India. She completed an ocular oncology fellowship at Wills Eye Institute and a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Ramasubramanian said she selected IU for her residency “because of its excellent well-rounded training and for its world-renowned pediatric ophthalmology service.”

“My particular interest is pediatric ocular oncology with an emphasis on retinoblastoma,” she said. “I knew of Dr. Corson’s interest in ocular tumors, so I contacted him when I came to IU for my residency, and we worked together on one of the chapters.”

Dr. Corson says the strength of the book is its straightforward discussion of the major issues in retinoblastoma care today and includes appendices for quick reference of chemotherapy regimens, treatment protocols and genetic counseling. “This book covers subjects including surgical therapies, chemotherapy, enucleation (eye removal) and treatment of metastases,” Corson said.