The only established curative treatment for blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma, is to perform a bone marrow transplant. However, within a year after bone marrow transplantion, approximately 50% of patients develop severe inflammation of the ocular surface that presents as a painful dry eye. Patients describe the eye pain to be disabling and similar in intensity to the pain one experiences after chemical burns. This eye condition is termed ocular Graft-versus-Host Disease (oGVHD).
There are no approved therapies for treating ocular GVHD; thus, ocular GVHD represents an unmet medical need. To fill this gap, the University of Illinois Department of Ophthalmology has established a unique translational research program that makes feasible the discovery and development of novel treatments for ocular GVHD. This program comprises of a highly specialized ocular GVHD clinic for patient care, an advanced translational molecular biology laboratory for uncovering disease mechanisms, dedicated clinical trial center for developing new therapies and a highly motivated team who seamlessly connect these components. We seek your generous support and philanthropy to maintain this translational research ecosystem at the level that fosters innovation and excellence.
Patients with ocular GVHD deserve the most effective ways to diagnose and treat the disease. Currently, there are no approved treatments for ocular GVHD, therefore, many novel therapies require compounding by an onsite pharmacy. Because these are off-label treatments, the coverage provided by health insurance is frequently inadequate. Therefore, some patients with ocular GVHD who are in need for these treatments are unable to get them. Our goals are to provide these treatments to all patients with ocular GVHD who need them irrespective of their ability to pay and to lead the next generation of innovation to cure this disease. Meeting these goals requires the generosity of many.
Funds donated to the ocular GVHD clinic will be used for the following purposes:
(1) Provide clinical care and therapies to patients with ocular GVHD who are unable to pay for these services
(2) Stimulate translational research for expeditiously bringing new therapies to the clinics
(3) Enhance educational opportunities in the area of ocular GVHD by creating a collaborative group comprising patients, caregivers and medical trainees
Ocular GVHD Clinic Co-Directors
Biennial ocular GVHD Conference at UIC