American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Foundation Establishes AstraZeneca Research Endowment Fund

Published: Dec 28, 2006

OAK BROOK, Ill., Dec. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Foundation announced that it has established the AstraZeneca Research Endowment Fund for gastrointestinal endoscopic research supported by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Wilmington, DE. The endowment, which will be funded over the next three years, provides a permanent resource for funding of GI endoscopic research designed to answer important questions and improve the quality and effectiveness of clinical endoscopic services. ASGE - A Leader in GI Endoscopy Research

ASGE and the ASGE Foundation promote ongoing research in gastrointestinal endoscopy and its applications to disease management and prevention to ultimately improve the quality of endoscopy delivered to the public. ASGE Foundation-funded research has driven substantial improvements in clinical practice and technology resulting in positive impacts on patients' lives. These studies have played key roles in the development, implementation, and testing of a variety of gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopic procedures and techniques that have greatly benefited patients who suffer from digestive diseases and disorders. Highly focused and practical-investigations are usually completed in a relatively short time and the results are quickly translated into significant improvements in clinical practice. The AstraZeneca Research Endowment Fund will enhance ASGE's ability to fund additional studies and expand future endoscopic research opportunities and needs such as:

-- Colorectal Cancer - Better defining risk factors for colorectal cancer and polyps and improving the safety, comfort and accuracy of colonoscopy. Widespread use of high-quality colonoscopy is largely credited for the recent decline in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality in the U.S.

-- GI bleeding - Improve endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of life- threatening gastrointestinal bleeding. Increasingly, potentially fatal hemorrhage from ulcers, varices, vascular lesions, and other mucosal disorders are quickly definitively controlled using a single endoscopic exam coupled with the use of newly developed methods to control bleeding, obviating the need to do surgery on many high-risk patients.

-- EUS - Further refinement of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) - ultrasound delivered through an endoscope placed in different parts of the alimentary tract providing accurate diagnosis and staging of both GI cancers (esophagus, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum) and non-GI cancers located in the thorax and abdomen. These procedures help insure the proper use and timing of surgery for patients with these common malignancies.

-- ERCP - Further improve the safety and quality of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for the treatment of biliary and pancreatic disease. These developments have benefited countless numbers of patients with complicated gall stone disease, pancreatitis, duct strictures, and related infections - again obviating the need to do more invasive and risky surgery in most patients.

-- Development and testing of endoscopic bariatric procedures for treating patients with life-shortening morbid obesity.

-- Refinement and testing of emerging endoscopic techniques for the non- surgical treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

-- Development and testing of endoscopic techniques that use energy forms other than visible light to examine tissue and assess disease.

-- Design of large outcome studies that are statistically able to show that each endoscopic procedure that clinicians now recommend improves patient outcomes.

"Research programs such those supported by the ASGE Foundation are essential to improving patient outcomes," said Doug Levine, MD, Executive Director for Clinical Development at AstraZeneca. "These programs result in the development of new diagnostic and treatment options for patients with gastrointestinal diseases. AstraZeneca is very pleased to be able to support the ASGE Foundation in their research mission and ongoing efforts to improve clinical practice in the field of gastroenterology and improve the lives of the patients they treat."

The Grant Process

Eligibility for the AstraZeneca Research Awards will be subject to the overall grant policies of ASGE and the ASGE Foundation. Applications for grants from the Fund will be evaluated by the ASGE Research Committee and will be awarded based on qualifications and expertise.

Grants will be available from the AstraZeneca Research Endowment Fund beginning in early 2008. For more information, please visit or send an e-mail to

Moving Forward

The ASGE has an impressive track record over the past thirty years providing funds that have allowed investigators to improve the diagnostic and therapeutic value and impact of GI endoscopy. ASGE applauds AstraZeneca for its foresight and leadership in the endoscopic research arena.

"ASGE and the Foundation are most grateful to AstraZeneca for its support of GI endoscopic research. AstraZeneca's commitment will make a significant difference in the practice of GI endoscopy and the lives and health of patients for years to come," said Fran Tedesco, MD, FASGE, Chair of the ASGE Foundation.

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 and promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. Physicians and surgeons who are members of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) have highly specialized training in endoscopic procedures of the digestive tract. ASGE, with more than 9,500 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 AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $23.95 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology, and infection products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $10.77 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index. For more information about AstraZeneca, please visit: .

Media Contact: Jennifer L. Michalek

(630) 570-5632

Source: ASGE Foundation

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