2 February Technology Developed By DRC Enhances Detection of Eye Disease in Diabetics February 2, 2018 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center 0 DRC Director's Report, February 2018 Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a complication of diabetes, is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the developed world, and it is one of the most feared complications for people with diabetes. In the US, at least 25,000 people with diabetes go blind every year from this almost entirely preventable disease, and there are 25 million Americans with diabetes at risk for the disease, projected to increase to 50 million over the next 10 years. There is extensive proof that an annual eye exam to detect the retinopathy early and treat it before the onset of symptoms can prevent almost all permanent visual loss, unfortunately the annual eye exam is expensive and access may be difficult. For the past 20 years, Dr. Michael Abramoff, MD, PhD, who is both a retinal specialist and a computer scientist, in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa and a member of the FOE Diabetes Research Center, has studied how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to prevent diabetic retinopathy and thus improve the lives of people with diabetes. One of his research programs studies how smart cameras can take pictures of the inner lining of the back of the eye, the retina, and use AI detect whether or not there is diabetic retinopathy. His early studies showed that AI computer algorithms can do this better than retinal specialists do. Other studies showed how such cameras can be made at lower cost, so that they are affordable for the frontlines of care such as primary care. Thus, these smart cameras could be placed in the offices of family doctors and primary care providers. His research led him to patent the resulting computer algorithms and cameras, and eventually, to found a company, IDx, to bring this technology to benefit people with diabetes, making prevention more accessible at increased quality and lower cost. IDx-DR has not yet been cleared by FDA. However, this smart camera system has the potential to truly bend the healthcare delivery cost curve by bringing diabetic retinopathy screening to the frontlines of medical care. It is hoped that then only those people with diabetes who have diabetic retinopathy will be referred to an eye care specialist for further treatment and management. The IDx-DR clinical trial was completed several months ago, and FDA clearance may come as soon as spring 2018 – it already cleared and in use in Europe. Another research program studies the relationship between the damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, that is characteristic for Diabetic Retinopathy, and the damage to the nerve cells in the retina, that transmit visual information to the brain, a disease called retinal diabetic neuropathy (RDN). Using novel and innovative imaging strategies Dr. Abramoff’s team has demonstrated how this process occurs and the time frame over which this occurs. There is currently no known prevention or treatment for RDN, in part because its significance in diabetic eye disease was not widely appreciated. Recently they found intriguing evidence in people with diabetes, as well as in mice with diabetes, that in the eye and the brain, damage of the nerve cells occurs before there is any damage to the small blood vessels. Currently he and his team are studying whether this nerve damage can be prevented, and if prevention of the nerve damage can prevent diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Abramoff's research has been cited over 22,000 times. In October 2017, he was asked to brief members of the US Senate and House in DC on the critical role that basic science funding plays in the development of new healthcare innovations, and on the role that AI can play in driving down healthcare costs. Related Articles Technology Developed By DRC Researcher Could Preserve Vision for Diabetes Patients University of Iowa Health Care patients are the first in the nation to have access to a new technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. The technology, known as IDx-DR, is the only medical device authorized by the Food and Drug Administration that uses AI for the autonomous detection of diabetic retinopathy. The device’s algorithm makes the diagnosis based on imaging of the patient’s retina without the need for an eye specialist to interpret the results. Progress In Preventing Eye Disease In Diabetes A research team lead by Mark A. Greiner, M.D., Assistant Professor, Cornea and External Diseases in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and member of the FOEDRC, at the University of Iowa is doing interesting work in understanding how diabetes affects the Cornea. The Fraternal Order of Eagles and Ekso Bionics Highlight the Revolutionary Ekso GT Suit Allowing Paralyzed Veterans to Walk July 4 at Arlington Cemetery Austin Reese, a Navy veteran with spinal cord injuries and lower extremity paralysis, highlighted American innovation enabling significant recovery and enhanced health. The Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.), an international nonprofit community organization, and Ekso Bionics, a California-based pioneer in the field of robotic exoskeletons, partnered for a special ceremony honoring veterans at Arlington National Cemetery July 4. Along with Austin Reese, they placed a focus on this extraordinary development during a demonstration on America’s birthday. Happy New Year From The DRC The FOE Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa wishes you a heartfelt Happy New Year! Our ongoing commitment and resolution to the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the entire community is to continue research aimed at bettering the lives of all who live with diabetes and to rigorously search for ways to cure or reverse the alarming increase in diabetes across the world. FOE DRC Investigators Continue To Excel In Research Faculty members in the FOEDRC continue to excel in their ability to obtain competitive extramural funding for their research projects. In this month’s newsletter I will highlight new grant awards obtained by two of our members and next month I will feature another two. Dr. Julien Sebag, Assistant Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and member of the FOEDRC was recently awarded a 5-year $1.9M grant from the NIDDK for a project entitled: Investigating the requirement of MRAP2 for ghrelin function. DRC Director's Report - January 2019 The new year is always a time to look back and reflect on the many achievements of the prior year. I have been pleased that the Fraternal Order of Eagles has committed continued support to a program that will be overseen by the FOEDRC that seeks to develop new treatments for diabetes and its complications and to bring them ultimately to market. The Bridge to the cure program represents an innovative collaboration and we are excited by what this new year will bring. For this reason, I have chosen to write about one example from a FOEDRC member that recently demonstrated the ability of the compound nicotinamide riboside to restore nerve damage from chemotherapy. We believe that this same mechanism could lead to improved nerve function in people with diabetes. I hope that you will enjoy reading about this exciting advance below. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.