GI Societies Increase Research Activities With Olympic Medical Grant  
2/19/2007 1:34:52 PM

OAK BROOK, Ill., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research(TM) (NOSCAR(TM)), a joint effort of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), announces a Request for Proposals based on a pledge of $500,000 in research funds from Olympus Medical. This investment will support fundamental research in an emerging transdisciplinary therapy known as Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery(TM) (NOTES(TM)), an approach that could ultimately represent a major paradigm shift in minimally invasive therapy.

Olympus, a world leader in imaging and endoscopy, has partnered with NOSCAR(TM) to establish the Olympus Research Fund to underwrite ground- breaking research exploring new technology.

"As a leading endoscope company committed to not only imaging innovation but revolutionary minimally invasive therapy, Olympus Medical is proud to support fundamental research in this new paradigm," said Haruhito Morishima, President, Olympus Medical. "Based on our mission of offering safety, reliability and efficiency to patients, we are absolutely delighted to help physicians and surgeons look for innovative therapies for patients, and we believe the grant may contribute toward these new frontiers."

Requests for funding will be considered by the NOSCAR Research Subcommittee and be awarded early this year. Proposals are due March 22, 2007, and must be submitted electronically. The complete request for proposal and more information is available online at .


Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery(TM) (NOTES(TM)) 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(TM) (NOSCAR(TM)) 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.

The NOSCAR Working Group identified a number of baseline issues in July 2005. For NOTES to mature into a viable technology, both procedure and device research and development must continue. At this stage, NOTES must be performed by a team that has the skills of an advanced therapeutic endoscopist and a laparoscopic surgeon who in many instances will bring unique but complementary skills. There are a number of other fundamental issues, many of which are identified in the white papers which may be accessed via -- the group's official web site. These issues must be understood prior to the safe introduction of NOTES and are best addressed in laboratory settings. Having supportive laboratory data is an essential step prior to approval from regulatory agencies like the FDA or Institutional Review Board for performing initial NOTES. The most important areas for initial study are: safe peritoneal access and secure gastric closure, intraperitoneal contamination, image display and maintenance of spatial orientation, development of stable working platforms, physiologic perturbations, and tissue approximation methods (suturing and others).

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 resident, 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 for more information.

About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), founded in 1941, is the preeminent professional organization dedicated to advancing the practice of endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 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 ; ; and 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 .

Media Contact Barbara Connell NOSCAR 630-570-5616


CONTACT: Barbara Connell, NOSCAR, +1-630-570-5616, or