On Friday, October 3, 2008, Gift of Sight Committee Chairperson Marianne Principe O’Neil, State President Nancy DiFiore Quinn and Medical Consultant to the Gift of Sight Committee, Dr. Stephen Lore attended a special ceremony at Nassau County Medical Center (NUMC) to present a $5,000 donation check to Dr. Robert Lopez of Columbia University and Director of Vitreo-Retina at NUMC.   Dr. Lopez will be using this donation to purchase Avastin for the clinic patients and compile data to contribute to the approval of this drug by the FDA for use in treatment of macular degeneration.

*AvastinTM was not initially developed to treat your eye condition.  Based upon the results of clinical trials that demonstrated its safety and effectiveness, AvastinTM was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.  Once a device or medication is approved by the FDA, physicians may use it “off-label” for other purposes if they are well-informed about the product, base its use on firm scientific method and sound medical evidence, and maintain records of its use and effects.  Ophthalmologists are using AvastinTM “off-label” to treat AMD and similar conditions since research indicates that VEGF is one of the causes for the growth of the abnormal vessels that cause these conditions.  Some patients treated with AvastinTM had less fluid and more normal-appearing maculas, and their vision improved.  AvastinTM is also used, therefore, to treat macular edema, or swelling of the macula.*

The donation of $5,000 will be used specifically at NCMC to compile the data required for the possible approval of this drug for macular degeneration.  The New York Grand Lodge, Order Sons of Italy in America and its Gift of Sight Committee is proud to be playing a major role in this clinical trial.  Funds raised by the OSIA Gift of Sight Committee and monies received from a generous grant by Senator Caesar Trunzo of Long Island will be used to fund this project.

This is just another positive inroad for the Grand Lodge of New York, Order Sons of Italy in America!!  We are proud to be involved in this project, especially during Italian Heritage & Culture Month.

*Information provided by: Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company