Researchers have announced a study to identify new treatments that could improve survival rates for an uveal melanoma, a form of eye cancer.

Fight for Sight said researchers from the University of Liverpool will be analysing tumour samples to gain a better understanding about the role of mutation in a gene known as BAP1 in the development of uveal melanoma.

The underlying changes that result from mutation of this gene will then be targeted with drugs that could improve survival rates for patients.

The study aims to identify drugs as candidates for future clinical trials that could lead to a new treatment for patients.

Dr Neil Ebenezer, director of research, policy and innovation from Fight for Sight, said: “This is really important research to better understand the role of the BAP1 gene in this eye cancer, which mainly affects adults. The research from this project could lead to the identification of a drug therapy that could prevent the growth and spread of this condition.

"Currently there are no available therapies to prevent the spread of uveal melanoma to other parts of the body or to treat it, once it has spread. So, it’s vital that we start identifying options as soon as possible that may benefit patients.”

Uveal melanoma is a rare cancer of the eye involving the iris, ciliary body, or choroid (collectively referred to as the uvea). Tumours arise from the pigment cells that reside within the uvea, which give colour to the eye. In up to 50% of patients, the aggressive eye tumour will spread to the liver causing the development of a secondary cancer.