I was told there is absolutely nothing they could help me with, no treatment

says Jolanta Stettler, a 39 year old female from Denver, who was diagnosed with ocular melanoma and had less than six months to live. As reported in this NYTimes article, she and her husband searched the Internet to find an ongoing study that used a new treatment that injected tiny beads that emit a small amount of radiation – this helped her for 18 months. Next, she searched for advanced clinical trials and enrolled in a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that used concentrated chemotherapy, which resulted in reducing of her tumors by half.

A search for “ocular melanoma” or “eye cancer” on TrialX.org gives 2 on-going clinical trials:

  1. Investigative Trial of Interferon Alpha-2b To Shrink Cancer of the Eye : This clinical trial is investigating whether the drug currently showing promise in skin cancer can be used for eye cancer. The trial is enrolling patients with tumor size greater than 8 mm in diameter and greater than 2 mm in thickness. The patients taking any form of immunosuppersive medications will be excluded. This trial is being conducted at (If you are not sure about whether you qualify, you can use your health record from Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault with TrialX.org to determine whether you are eligible for this clinical trial and contact appropriate trial investigator)
  2. Optical Coherence Tomography of Retinal Abnormalities Associated With Choroidal Nevus Choroidal Melanoma and Choroidal Melanoma Treated With Iodine-125 Brachytherapy: This trial uses an advanced imaging technology that provides pictures of inner tissues of eye which wasn’t possible before. The trial is currently being conducted at the Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles, CA.

There are hundreds of Jolanta Stettlers out there who have been told “there is absolutely nothing that can be done” but these brave souls kept fighting and did not give up. Ultimately, they are helping millions of others and the future generations who will get the timely benefit of the new therapy or drug developed as consequence of their participation in these studies.