More MS news articles for August 1999

BIOMEC Licenses Brain Parenchymal Fraction Software for Multiple Sclerosis from Cleveland Clinic Foundation

CLEVELAND, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Trevor O. Jones, Chairman and CEO, BIOMEC Inc., announced today the completion of a licensing agreement with The Cleveland Clinic Foundation for the Clinic's proprietary Brain Parenchymal Fraction (BPF) software for use in brain atrophy measurement in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients.
Mr. Jones stated that, "The completion of this agreement allows BIOMEC to make this powerful diagnostic tool available to a much wider audience.  BPF analysis has shown that MS patients experience brain tissue loss, or atrophy, much earlier in the course of this disease than neurologists previously thought.  BIOMEC is fully equipped to offer this robust software capability to pharmaceutical companies, and has development efforts underway for neurology and research versions."

Brain atrophy is irreversible and is associated with various symptoms, such as loss of memory, inability to walk, and slurred speech, which are often experienced by people with multiple sclerosis.  The disease of the central nervous system affects an estimated 300,000 Americans, with nearly 200 new cases diagnosed every week.  MS most often strikes people in their 20s and 30s.

Use of the Brain Parenchymal Fraction (BPF) software was reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Toronto earlier this year.  Richard Rudick, M.D., Director of the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research at the Cleveland Clinic, presented study data showing that untreated MS patients (receiving a placebo) experienced significant brain atrophy.  Dr. Rudick said, "Our study shows MS patients continually lose brain tissue, even in the early stages of the disease, when physical symptoms are still very mild.  This study demonstrates the importance of measuring the disease process directly, using an MRI method such as the brain parenchymal fraction."  Importantly, the BPF method was also useful in measuring treatment effects.  Patients assigned to the active treatment arm of the study (IFN beta-1a, Avonex(R)) had 55% less atrophy progression during the second year of observation.

Developed by Elizabeth Fisher, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer at the Cleveland Clinic, BPF is used to analyze magnetic resonance images (MRI) of brain tissue.  BPF calculates the amount of brain tissue as a ratio of the total brain volume.  Said Dr. Fisher, "Use of BPF analysis offers several advantages over traditional methods of looking at MS disease progression, including reduced measurement error, increased automation, and reduced time required for a clinician to quantitatively evaluate the images.  The method can also be used on retrospective studies and eliminates several of the problems associated with patient positioning and scan to scan variability."

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, founded in 1921, integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education in a private, non-profit group practice.  Last year at the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida, over 850 full-time salaried physicians representing more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties provided for 1,182,300 outpatient visits and 49,987 hospital admissions for patients from throughout the United States and more than 80 countries.  In 1997, the Cleveland Clinic Health System was formed.  It now comprises The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Fairview Hospital, Health Hill Hospital for Children, Lakewood Hospital, Lutheran Hospital, Marymount Hospital, Euclid Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Huron Hospital, and South Pointe Hospital.  With 2,957 staffed beds, The Cleveland Clinic Health System offers broad geographic coverage, full continuum of care, improved quality, and lower cost of care to Northeast Ohio residents.

BIOMEC Inc. is a Cleveland-based biomedical product development and commercialization company established in May 1998 with the specific objective of accelerating promising research and development projects from private laboratories and major medical and academic institutions to successful commercialized products.  BIOMEC collaborates with a number of major medical institutions and universities in the development of advanced biomedical systems and devices, such as the Cleveland Clinic's BPF Software.

Note: AVONEX(R) (Interferon beta-1a) is a registered trademark of Biogen, Inc.

For further information, please call Stephen Behm at 216-937-2800 (or 216-937-2812, fax; or , email), 1771 East 30th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44114 U.S.A.