Cincinnati Children’s is a major center for pediatric cancer research, including retinoblastoma research. Our researchers in the Retinoblastoma Program within the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute probe cancer cells to understand how the disease develops and spreads, and are finding targets for new anticancer drugs.

Our physicians and researchers lead and participate in numerous clinical research studies with the goal of improving the prognosis and quality of life for patients with retinoblastoma. Some of these studies are sponsored by Cincinnati Children’s, and some are offered at our site through national cooperative research organizations such as the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the National Cancer Institute Pediatric Phase I Consortium.

Cincinnati Children’s is a lead site for national COG research studies designed to identify novel therapies for retinoblastoma and to better understand what causes the disease.

Our leadership in these consortiums provides early access to new anticancer therapies. Cincinnati Children’s researchers also collaborate on clinical research studies with researchers from other institutions, including the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Innovative Approaches

Retinoblastoma clinical research at Cincinnati Children’s focuses on finding new therapies and examining quality-of-life issues following treatment. Areas of research include:

  • Transcatheter selective intraophthalmic-artery chemotherapy, which involves delivering chemotherapy directly to the arteries behind the eye 
  • Subtenon-directed chemotherapy, in which chemotherapy drugs are injected through the membrane covering the muscles and nerves at the back of the eyeball 
  • Intravenous chemotherapy, in which chemotherapy is injected into the bloodstream 
  • Novel, targeted anticancer agents 
  • Conformal radiation techniques, which deliver radiation that conforms to the tumor’s shape 
  • Tests to assess sharpness of vision and the visual neural pathway 
  • Eye-sparing techniques

National Referral Center

Cincinnati Children’s is a major referral center for clinical care and research for the Children’s Oncology Group, the National Cancer Institute’s new Pediatric Phase I Consortium and other national cancer research consortia. Many of our physicians serve in leadership positions for these organizations, ensuring that our patients have access to the most innovative and effective cancer treatments. We are the only site in Ohio, and one of just a few nationwide, to offer pediatric Phase I clinical trials of the newest cancer therapies.