Retinoblastoma Cancer Prevention

Our Approach

Each year we reach out to the local community and talk with supporters to better understand how cancer has affected them. Based on the collective feedback recieved and research by the Board of Directors and committee members, the ReMission Foundation collaborates with an organization, cause, or researcher to support for the annual calendar year.


2019 Recipeint

ReMission Foundation, with the support of Love From Liam and Eye Tumor Research Foundation, is pleased to support:

Carol Shields MD

Director of the Oncology Service at Wills Eye Hospital & Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and her retinoblastoma cancer research.

About Carol Shields MD

Dr. Carol Shields practices Ocular Oncology on a full time basis at Wills Eye Hospital, the largest and busiest ocular oncology service in the USA. Each year the Oncology Service manages approximately 500 patients with uveal melanoma, 120 patients with retinoblastoma, and numerous other intraocular, orbital, and adnexal tumors from the United States and abroad. Dr. Shields is a member of numerous ocular oncology, pathology, and retina societies and has delivered 57 named lectures in America and abroad. She has also been active in the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She serves on the editorial/advisory board of 31 journals including JAMA Ophthalmology, Retina, Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and International Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Currently Dr. Shields and her fellow investigators are researching new treatments for retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye that occurs in children, usually within the first 2 or 3 years of life. This cancer grows fairly rapidly over a period of several months and cannot be seen because it is hidden in the eye. Fortunately, survival rates from retinoblastoma treatment have increased dramatically in the U.S. (98%) but still lag behind globally (~50%). Researchers discovered that the malignancy is caused by a mutation in chromosome 13q14, called the RB1 mutation. This mutation is found in nearly every retinoblastoma. If the mutation is found in the blood, the child is then labeled as having germline mutation whereby, he/she is at risk for multiple other cancers in the body due to the prevalent mutation. The importance of establishing this mutation is profound as it impacts the child’s management and future risks.

In the past, establishing the precise genetic mutation in chromosome 13 was only possible with direct tumor tissue from the removed eye, thus the mutation could only be understood if the eye was enucleated. But Dr. Shields and her team are researching a new treatment technique called liquid biopsy that would hopefully save the patient's eye and allow doctors to understand the exact mutation that lead to the cancer's development. Information learned from the liquid biopsy is utilized to protect the child from further cancers and protect the child's future offspring from developing this cancer.

For 2019, ReMission Foundation is helping raise funds to support Dr. Shields liquid biopsy research project which will sample free floating DNA (cell-free DNA (cf-DNA)) in the clear liquid in the front part of the eye (aqueous humor) to establish the precise cancer-causing genetic mutation. The project will explore the following outcomes:

  • Establish the yield of cf-DNA in the aqueous humor
  • Correlate cf-DNA with solid tumor component for those eyes that come to enucleation
  • Test cf-DNA for reliability in confirming the presence or absence of retinoblastoma in the eye
  • Use cf-DNA as documentation for tumor control and monitor the levels as the tumor is showing resolution or recurrence
  • Use cf-DNA to help us understand future patient risks for metastases, second cancers, and risk for death

  • Support from ReMission Foundation will help accelerate Dr. Shield's research and have a meaningful impact on the treatment of retinoblastoma in patients around the world.

    Dr. Shields completed her residency in ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia in 1987 and she and her husband Jerry are the parents of 7 children, ranging in age from 18 to 30 years. To learn more about Dr. Carol Shields and her work in ocular cancer prevention, please visit Carol Shield's at Wills Eye Hospital