Olympus America

Press Center

Notes™ Research Activities Increase With Grants From Olympus Medical Systems Totaling $1 Million


Olympus grants an additional $500,000 for research in incisionless surgery

OAK BROOK, Ill., July 10, 2008 – The Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research™ (NOSCAR™), a joint effort of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), today announced Olympus’ continuing commitment to funding research in an emerging transdisciplinary therapy known as Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery™ (NOTES™), with a $500,000 grant to the existing Olympus Research Fund supporting NOTES™ research. The grant increases Olympus’ total funding to $1 million. NOTES™, which is performed by using the patient’s natural openings for surgery without making incisions, will be discussed among researchers from July 10-12, 2008 at the 3rd International Conference on NOTES™ in San Francisco, Calif.

“The Olympus Research Fund established in 2007 has already supported nine studies producing results that are advancing the understanding and applications of this fascinating and innovative technique,” said Haruhito Morishima, president, Olympus Medical Systems Corporation. “As the world’s leader in endoscopy, we are proud to continue our support of NOTES™ research, an approach that could ultimately represent a major paradigm shift in minimally invasive therapy.”

This fund was established with an initial $500,000 grant from Olympus. Though studies from this grant are ongoing, one of the nine studies that has been completed is expected to be published in two peer-reviewed journals.  Researchers will learn more about these studies at the upcoming NOTES™ conference.

“NOTES™ is moving forward more rapidly than initially expected,” said Robert H. Hawes, MD, FASGE, ASGE past president and NOSCAR™ Joint Committee co-chair. “Three years ago, we never anticipated the progress in the research arena that has been made in such a short period.  Thanks to leaders such as Olympus, we are making great strides in NOTES™ technology.”

NOSCAR™ received more than 40 requests for funding from this new Olympus grant. NOSCAR™ will determine the grant recipients in mid-July. A listing of those who received funding will be posted to www.noscar.org.

“We are most grateful to Olympus for its ongoing commitment and vision in supporting NOTES™ research,” said David W. Rattner, MD, SAGES past president and NOSCAR™ Joint Committee co-chair. 

About NOSCAR
Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery™ (NOTES™) might represent the next major advancement in minimally invasive therapy. To address this emerging technology, a working group consisting of expert laparoscopic surgeons from SAGES and a group of expert interventional endoscopists representing ASGE have joined together as the Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research™ (NOSCAR™) Working Group on NOTES™.
The growing capabilities of therapeutic flexible endoscopy have ushered in a new era in treatment of gastrointestinal conditions. Refinements in laparoscopic surgery have progressed to the point that complex surgical procedures, such as gastric bypass, can now be performed in a minimally invasive fashion. These trends have set the stage for the development of even less invasive methods to treat conditions in both the gut lumen and in the peritoneal cavity. It seems feasible that major intraperitoneal surgery may one day be performed without skin incisions. The natural orifices may provide the entry point for surgical interventions in the peritoneal cavity thereby avoiding abdominal wall incisions.  For more information, visit www.noscar.org.

About the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) was founded in 1981 to foster, promote, support and encourage academic, clinical and research achievement in gastrointestinal endoscopic surgery.  Our members are general and colorectal surgeons who perform endoscopy and laparoscopy as part of their practice as well as surgical residents, fellows, and other allied health personnel. The Society has grown from fewer than 50 original members to more than 5,500 from every state and over 80 countries. Visit www.sages.org for more information.

About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Founded in 1941, the mission of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is to be the leader in advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with 10,000 physician members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit www.asge.org and www.screen4coloncancer.org for more information.

About Olympus Medical Systems Corporation
Olympus developed the first gastrocamera in 1950, and has since developed a wide range of fiberscopes and videoscopes for direct internal observation of the human body. Today, we are expanding our minimally invasive treatment business to offer a wide range of instruments and peripheral devices for medical treatment and clinical diagnoses, including endoscopic surgery. We are improving medical and healthcare services by developing “more patient-friendly medical care” technology for early detection and treatment of diseases, even “greater reliability” in our unsurpassed devices and “high efficiency” in our products and services to better serve our customers' needs. More information on the company can be found at www.olympus.co.jp/en/.

Media Contact:
Barbara Connell
NOSCAR
630-570-5616
barbara@noscar.org