More dead ends as doctors seek answers to rare eye cancer cluster in Huntersville

More dead ends as doctors seek answers to rare eye cancer cluster in Huntersville

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Doctors say they have run into more dead ends as they look for answers about a mysterious cluster of rare eye cancer cases in the Huntersville area. An investigation into the cluster has concluded without finding any definitive answers.

This is a story Channel 9 has been following for years and families are desperate for answers.

Dr. Mike Brennan updated city leaders Monday night on the most recent study. He said they tested six women who were diagnosed with ocular melanoma, looking for a genetic link of some kind -- but didn’t find one.

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Brennan, an ophthalmologist, said more funding is needed and also suggested more statewide or regional research. The Huntersville town council had received $100,000 from the state to conduct the study.

“The CDC is a veritable storehouse of national information,” he said. “If there was a federal agency, they should assume responsibility. They were challenged by this and said it should be state by state. Three years ago they didn’t, but I would put it back in their lap again.”

At least 22 people have been diagnosed with the rare eye cancer in the Huntersville area.

Brennan said it would not be unusual to see one new patient every year.

Doctors would like to do statewide testing, but the study funding has dried up so the next steps were not immediately clear.

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9 Investigates: Trying to crack Huntersville’s eye cancer mystery