Innovative Procedure Helps Children with Eye Cancer
In April 2009, 7-year-old Christina Katsouris underwent an extremely rare, new surgery at Holtz Children’s Hospital to treat retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that occurs in the retina of the eye. Each year about 300 to 400 cases of retinoblastoma are diagnosed nationwide.
In the past, treatment options included removal of the eye or using radiation therapy and chemo to attack the tumor, which often led to blindness. But a team of three UHealth/Jackson doctors worked together to implement a novel technique to treat children with retinoblastoma.
Rather than using traditional chemotherapy on the entire body – which often causes side effects such as nausea, hair loss, and bone marrow suppression – these doctors directly injected lower doses of the chemo straight into the artery that feeds the eye. To reach the artery, Dr. Ali Aziz-Sultan, director of neuroendovascular surgery at UM/Jackson, inserted a super-thin catheter – about the size of a piece of angel hair pasta – up through the groin. He threaded the catheter up to the aorta, bypassing the heart, into the blood vessels in the neck and brain, and then toward the artery in the eye.
The 30-minute procedure, performed in coordination with Dr. Timothy Murray, an ocular oncologist at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and Dr. Cristina Fernandes, a pediatric oncologist at Holtz Children’s Hospital, was done under general anesthesia. Most patients who undergo this procedure are discharged from the hospital the next day and experience no side effects from the chemotherapy.
Feb. 2018 Employee Stories
Proud of Jackson’s Cultural Evolution. Link opens story page.
As Jackson celebrates its centennial year, we rightly look back over 100 years of progress, growth, and service. My perspective doesn’t go back that far, but is illustrative of major growth nonetheless.Explore in story page.
Aug. 1994 Medical Firsts
Florida’s First Intestinal Transplant. Link opens story page.
In August 1994, 4-year- old Natasha Yousuf became the first person in the southeastern United States to receive an intestinal transplant.Explore in story page.
May. 2012 Miracle Stories
Five-month-Old Receives Life-Saving Liver Transplant. Link opens story page.
In 2007, five-month-old Kara Ffrench and 46-year-old Victor Billingsley shared a donor liver in simultaneous surgeries hundreds of miles apart.Explore in story page.