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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2008
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

AEVR HOLDS VISUAL IMAGING BRIEFING FEATURING REAL-TIME ANALYSIS OF THE RETINA USING OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY (OCT)

(Washington, DC) Today, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) announced a Congressional briefing entitled Visual Imaging: Revolutionizing the Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease to be held Tuesday, February 26, 2008, from 12 Noon -1:15 pm in Room 2168 of the House Rayburn Office Building. The featured speaker is Alexander Walsh, M.D., of the Doheny Eye Institute/University of Southern California.

AEVR’s briefing, held in conjunction with the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research (CIBR), the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, features real-time, three-dimensional visualization and analysis of a retina using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), a non-invasive technique that enables practitioners to view key structures within the eye that indicate the presence and degree of many blinding eye diseases. OCT’s images of the layers of the retina—the neural tissue which converts light into visual images—are used to diagnose eye disease by identifying early changes related to age-related macular degeneration (AMD, leading cause of blindness among elderly Americans), diabetic retinopathy (leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans) and glaucoma (leading cause of vision loss in African Americans and Hispanics), as well as to monitor the effectiveness of treatments emerging from breakthrough NEI research, potentially reducing the frequency and cost of treatment.

"The use of OCT in clinical practice has emerged from federally funded research conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH)," noted AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky in announcing the briefing, emphasizing its importance as follows:

  • OCT provides an unparalleled visualization and measurement of retinal changes that can be coupled with a functional measurement of vision, maximizing the use of evidence-based medicine in eye care.
  • OCT is increasingly accepted as an outcomes measure by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in clinical trials for new treatments, This should reduce the cost of trials by requiring fewer patients and taking less time, thereby getting new products to patients more expeditiously.
  • OCT represents the collaborative nature of two leading NIH Institutes-NEI and NIBIB-as well as NIH’s leadership in facilitating the product approval process at the FDA and potentially reducing the frequency/cost of treatments paid for by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • OCT demonstrates NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni’s research and clinical practice goal for the 21st century, "P4 Medicine" - that which is preemptive, predictive, personalized, and patient-focused.

Alexander Walsh M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Southern California and Director of the Doheny Imaging Exploration and Software Engineering Laboratory (DIESEL) at the Doheny Retina Institute. Dr. Walsh, best described as a young investigator, represents a new generation of clinician-researcher, having had his laboratories “feng shui’d” to ensure a positive environment for research.

Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation dedicated to education about the importance of federal funding for eye and vision research. AEVR is pleased to host this widely attended event, with a meal value of less than $50. To attend, call 202-530-4672 or email dina_beaumont@yr.com. Visit NAEVR’s Web site at www.eyeresearch.org

Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research (CIBR) is a partnership of academic organizations, patient advocacy groups, and industry dedicated to leading the advocacy effort for medical imaging and bioengineering research throughout the NIH, Congress, and other governmental bodies. CIBR provides a conduit for disseminating information between academia, industry, patient groups, and NIH. Visit CIBR’s Web site at www.imagingcoalition.org

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) was founded in 1991 to establish a clear and comprehensive identity for the field of medical and biological engineering. Representing over 50,000 bioengineers, AIMBE serves and coordinates a broad constituency of medical and biological scientists and practitioners, scientific and engineering societies, academic departments, and industries. Visit AIMBE’s Web site at www.aimbe.org

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,500 eye and vision researchers from 70 countries. The Association encourages and assists research, training, publication, and dissemination of knowledge in vision and ophthalmology. Visit ARVO’s Web site at www.arvo.org

Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research is a coalition of more than 300 patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, academic and research organizations, and industry. It has one mission: to enhance the federal investment in biomedical, behavioral, and population-based research by increasing the funding for the National Institutes of Health. Visit the Web site at www.aamc.org/adhocgp/