OKC Medical Briefs November 12, 2003

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation's For the Future of Medical Research campaign now exceeds $95 million, OMRF President J. Donald Capra said Tuesday.

The campaign started in Nov. 1999. The five-year capital and endowment campaign seeks to raise $100 million for the foundation.

This campaign has remarkable progress over the past four years, in spite of tumultuous economic times, Capra said at OMRF's semiannual board meeting. With the help and support of our board members, I am confident we will not only reach but exceed our goals when this campaign comes to a close in November 2004.

Also on Tuesday, Ann Felton, of Oklahoma City, Marilyn Harrel, of Leedey, and Patricia Evans, of Ponca City, joined OMRF's board of directors.

Since 1992, Felton has been chair of the board of directors of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity. She has also served on the Oklahoma Board of Education and as president of the Junior League of Oklahoma City.

Harrel served two terms on the Oklahoma Arts Council and has been chair of numerous fundraising initiatives.

Evans owns Evans and Associates Enterprises in Ponca City. She serves on the board of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and was a member of the Oklahoma Arts Council.

It also was announced that the Order of the Eastern Star has presented OMRF with checks for $25,297.18 to support medical research.

These generous donations are the lifeblood of our foundation, and it is through gifts like these that our researchers are able to make headway against the terrible diseases that touch all of our lives, said Vernon Cook II, OMRF associate vice president for development.

Cook accepted two checks at the Eastern Star Training Awards for Religious Leadership and Youth Awards in Guthrie. The gifts, from the Oklahoma Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and Eastern Star Chapter 77 in Purcell, will fund research on neurological diseases and multiple sclerosis.

Eastern Star members raised the funds through monthly collections at the organization's 150-plus state chapters and through Chapter 77's Star Bike Ride, which was held in Purcell on Sept. 27 and featured 10-mile, 25-mile and 55-mile courses.

With these gifts, the Order of the Eastern Star has donated more than $45,000 in the last two years to OMRF.

OMRF researchers have developed an inhibitor for the enzyme believed responsible for Alzheimer's disease and are now working to create a drug to treat the disease. Earlier this year, a stroke drug based on an OMRF discovery entered large-scale human clinical trials. If these trials prove successful, this drug could prevent and even reverse brain injuries caused by strokes, which strike approximately 700,000 Americans each year.

The Order of the Eastern Star's membership includes men and women. It has 20,000 members in Oklahoma.

Mobile training

A new mobile medical unit that is traveling across the nation allowed cardiologists at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital to receive advanced training in Oklahoma City rather than traveling to other cities.

The training was provided at Boston Scientific Corp.'s bus, which includes a simulated cardiac catherization lab. Training used the new FilterWire EX Embolic Protection System, a recently approved Federal Drug Administration system designed to reduce health risks during angioplasty and vascular interventions.

Although Oklahoma Heart Hospital cardiologists are already trained in the new FilterWire system, the 40-foot mobile unit provided training to other cardiologists who hadn't yet received the training.

This is an incredible benefit to our physicians because it makes it easier for them to receive training in the latest technologies and advancements and that always benefits our patients, said Linda Baskett, team leader for OHH's cath lab. With Boston Scientific's high-tech mobile unit, our physicians conducted lifelike procedures using the latest computer-simulated diagnostic and evaluation tools available in a cath lab. …