An Ann Arbor-based medical device manufacturer that developed a technology to detect eye disease years earlier than current methods is Medical Main Street’s “INNO-VATOR of the Year.”
OcuSciences, Inc. is a medical diagnostic device company commercializing a rapid, non-invasive test for early detection of retinal disease. Physicians can use the device to screen patients for diabetes and early eye disease. Optometrists and ophthalmologists can use the device to diagnose and monitor disease progression and guide therapy.
“I stand in awe of the work done by OcuSciences and its new imaging techniques to measure damage to retinal tissue from diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This achievement in medical device manufacturing is indicative of the type of world-class research being conducted in the Medical Main Street region.”
The INNO-VATOR of the Year award honors the creators of a medical device which demonstrates the most dramatic change in the health care industry in Michigan. To be considered for the award, the device must have been developed in Michigan, achieved prototype development and validation, and incorporate a game-changing innovation.
The award was presented Oct. 22 during Medical Main Street’s INNO-VENTION 2014 conference at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. In 2013, Ann Arbor-based HistoSonics won for its Vortx Rx® device that uses sound energy to treat tissue inside the body without the need for traditional surgery. In 2012, Sentio LLC of Southfield and Ablative Solutions of Kalamazoo were each named co-winners. Sentio created a device to alert doctors when nerves are at risk during surgery and Ablative Solutions’ technology treats hypertension.
Based on technology licensed from the University of Michigan, OcuSciences has developed a proprietary, ocular imaging technique, Retinal Metabolic Analysis ™ (RMA), as a non-invasive, rapid biomarker for measuring the damage to retinal tissue due to diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma. This new measure has been termed a new vital sign for patients – similar to blood pressure or body temperature.
The RMA technology provides a means to detect disease processes several years earlier than current clinical methods and before irreversible structural alterations due to cell death become visible in the retina.
OcuSciences has demonstrated that RMA is more predictive of diabetes than other tests, helping pharmaceutical companies develop ophthalmic drugs more rapidly and precisely.
With 57 million diabetics in the U.S. today, and eight percent of those as undiagnosed diabetics, diabetes is a rapidly growing epidemic, especially among children. The screening for diabetic retinopathy and early treatment can help prevent blindness in 24,000 patients annually and reduce the $174 billion costs associated with diabetes.
The Medical Main Street board includes Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Beaumont Health System, Beckman Coulter Molecular Diagnostics, Crittenton Hospital, Detroit Medical Center, Ferndale Laboratories, Henry Ford Health Systems, Housey Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories, McLaren Health Care – Oakland, MichBio, State Rep. Gail Haines, R-Waterford, Oakland Community College, Oakland University, Oxus Inc., Priority Health, Rockwell Medical Technologies, St. John Providence Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and Stryker Corp.