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1999 Press Releases 

May - August, 1999

January - April, 1999


Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Offers Free Lecture on Diabetes and Vision Loss September 13, 1999

Contact: Public Affairs

August 30, 1999 -- The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary will offer a free lecture entitled "Diet and Exercise Roles in Managing Diabetes" on Monday, September 13, at 10:00 a.m., in the Sloane Teaching Room, 3rd. Floor, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles Street, Boston. The talk is part of the Infirmary's Diabetes and Vision Loss Lecture Series. Seating is limited. Please call 617 573-4177 to make reservations.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Co-Sponsors National Vision Rehabilitation Day: September 15, 1999

Contact: Public Affairs

August 25, 1999 -- Do you have trouble reading the paper -- even when you are wearing your glasses? You're not alone. Nearly ten million Americans experience the same difficulty and far too many have come to accept it. But help is available from the staff of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary's Vision Rehabilitation Service. They can prescribe and show you how to use optical devices so you can overcome vision loss and stay on top of the news. On National Vision Rehabilitation Day -- September 15th -- and throughout the year, no one with vision loss should go without help. Call: 617 573-4177.

North Reading Resident Promoted to Senior VP of Patient Services

Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-4170

August 6, 1999 -- Carol A. Covell, R.N., M.S., a resident of North Reading, was recently promoted to Senior Vice President of Patient Services of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. The announcement was made by F. Curtis Smith, Infirmary President.
Ms. Covell joined the Infirmary in 1972 as a staff nurse in the operating room. Through the years, she was promoted to various positions, which included: Operating Room Head Nurse, Coordinator of Utilization Review, Assistant Director of Nursing, Assistant Vice President for Nursing, Vice President for Nursing, and Vice President for Patient Services. She is the only senior vice president at the Infirmary and the highest-ranking woman.
A graduate of the Wharton Business School Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives, Ms. Covell also holds an M.S. from Lesley College, a B.S. from Emmanuel College, and an R.N. from the Somerville Hospital School of Nursing.
Ms. Covell is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives, the Association of Operating Room Nurses, the American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses, the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nurses, and the Society of Ambulatory Care Professionals. She has published several articles in her specialty.
Now celebrating its 175th year, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. For more information call 617 523-7900 or TDD 617 523-5498 or visit the Infirmary's website at


Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Honors Philanthropist Norman Knight for HBO Support

Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-3341

July 15, 1999 -- The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently held a dedication ceremony in honor of philanthropist Norman Knight, who made the Infirmary's hyperbaric medicine therapy program possible by funding three large-bore hyperbaric oxygen chambers. The unit has been named The Norman Knight Hyperbaric Medicine Center.
Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Knight, a Boston resident, the Center has now grown, both in size and number of chambers, to accommodate the increased use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) in treating a wide range of medical conditions. The chambers cost approximately $120,000 each. Mr. Knight has given and pledged more than $1 million dollars to hyperbaric oxygen medicine-related causes at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
The Center opened in February of 1995 as the first unit of its kind in Massachusetts. The Infirmary is very proud to be the initial hospital in the Commonwealth to offer hyperbaric oxygen treatment. It currently houses the most chambers in Massachusetts.
Since its opening, the HBO nurses and doctors have treated more than 600 patients and administered nearly 6,000 treatments. This usage reflects both the demand and importance of HBO therapy.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides the most advanced treatment available for problems with wound healing, radiation-treatment related bone loss, burns, scuba diving injuries and carbon monoxide poisoning. One of the most important roles of HBO therapy is its use as an adjunctive therapy in the surgical treatment for cancers of the head and neck. The Infirmary is the leading center in the Northeast for treatment of these cancers. The Center is available on a 24-hour basis for emergency and is open during normal business hours for scheduled treatments.
"The Center is a reality because of the vision of one man, Norman Knight. His generosity has enabled us to extend the Infirmary's mission -- providing the best possible care to our patients with a new and exciting therapy," said Infirmary President F. Curtis Smith.
Founded in 1824 and celebrating it 175th anniversary, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research, and the principal teaching hospital in its specialties of Harvard Medical School. Please visit the Infirmary on the World Wide Web at


Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary Physician Receives Rosenthal Award

Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-3341

June 15, 1999 -- Joan W. Miller, M.D., retina specialist and president of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary medical staff, recently received the 1999 Rosenthal Award in the Visual Sciences.
The award, given by the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation through the Macula Society, is given annually to individuals under 45 years of age whose work gives high promise of a notable advance in the clinical treatment of diseases of the retina. Dr. Miller is the first woman to receive the award and the second ophthalmologist from the Infirmary to receive the award since its inception in 1991. Thaddeus Dryja, M.D., of the Infirmary, received the award in 1993.
A resident of Winchester, Mass., Dr. Miller joined the full time staff of the Infirmary's Retina Service in 1991. She is currently an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Miller's research interests are focused on ocular neovascularization, particularly as it relates to macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, including the role of growth factors, the development of anti-angiogenic therapy, and photodynamic therapy. She, along with Evangelos Gragoudas, M.D., of the Infirmary, pioneered the development of photodynamic therapy for neovascular macular degeneration, for which they hold two U.S. patents. Dr. Miller is on the Study Advisory Group for the Treatment of AMD with Photodynamic Therapy. Clinicians hope that photodynamic therapy will offer an effective therapy for neovascular macular degeneration, with 2000,000 new cases diagnosed yearly in the United States alone. Dr. Miller has received numerous awards and has presented papers at more than 45 national and international conferences and has published more than 28 original peer-reviewed papers, 18 book chapters and review articles.
Now celebrating its 175th year, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617 523-7900 or TDD 617 523-5498.

Local Cochlear Implant Recipient Completes Study at Berklee College of Music;
Performs at Recital June 17th

Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-3341

June 11, 1999 -- For local resident and pianist Cydnie Breazeale-Davis, 24, the hour-long recital scheduled for Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m. in the Berklee College of Music's Genko Uchida Building marks much more than the culmination of her formal jazz music education. Blind since birth, this musician lost total hearing in 1996, an incident that derailed her life plan and threatened to end the aspiring pianist's career. But less than one year later, this remarkable young woman resumed her studies after a Clarion Cochlear Implant, or "bionic ear," was surgically implanted into her inner ear at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
The cochlear implant is one of the most advanced medical devices ever implanted in human beings and provides useful hearing to children and adults with profound "nerve" deafness. It works by delivering electrical stimulation directly to the hearing nerve and is used by children who are born deaf and others who have lost their hearing. It is estimated that two million Americans and millions more worldwide could benefit from this alternative to deafness.
Initially, Breazeale-Davis struggled to adjust as her auditory system was reawakened from its dormant state. Yet, she was yet determined to reclaim her music. "Today I hear better because of the implant," said Breazeale-Davis. "I love it! I use the implant for my music. At my recital, I get to do what I love--play my music. It will be a great day for me."
"The cochlear implant is a wonderful option for adults with acquired deafness who are unable to achieve significant benefit from hearing aids. Though the implant does not restore 'normal hearing,' it restores sound reception in nearly all individuals. This is an aid to speech reading and environmental sound awareness," said Breazeale-Davis' surgeon, Steven Rauch, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Dr. Rauch has performed cochlear implant surgery since 1985.
"As a speech pathologist, I can attest to the amazing progress Cydnie has made in such a short time," said T.C. Breazeale. "As her mother, I am incredibly proud and thrilled that the cochlear implant has enabled Cydnie to regain her ability to hear, perform, and enjoy music."
The recital will also feature Berklee alumnus and drummer Mark Greenburg and vocalist Havivah Zeltzer, who along with Breazeale-Davis is affiliated with Gateway, an organization that supports the work of physically and mentally challenged fine and performance artists. The recital will be held in David Friend Hall, located in Berklee's Genko Uchida Building at 921 Boylston St. The $20 per person suggested donation will go to the It Can Happen Fund at Berklee, which supports adaptive technology for the school's physically challenged students. The evening is sponsored by Advanced Bionics, a Southern California-based leader in cochlear implant technology.
Founded in 1945, Berklee College of Music, the world's largest independent music college and the premier institution for the study of contemporary music, enrolls 3,000 students and employs 375 faculty. Among the college's accomplished alumni are producer/arranger Quincy Jones '51, Joey Kraner '70 and Brad Whitford '71 of Aerosmith, rock singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge '80, jazz saxophonist/composer Branford Marsalis '80, and Natalie Maines '95 of the Dixie Chicks.
Celebrating its 175th anniversary, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. For more information, please visits its website at
To contact Cydnie Breazeale-Davis, call 617 924-7144. To speak with Breazeale-Davis' surgeon, Dr. Steven Rauch, call 617 573-3341. To obtain information about the Berklee College of Music, contact Rob Hayes at 617 747-2566. To learn more about the Clarion Cochlear Implant, contact Doug Lynch at 800 678-2575.

The Coolidge Clinical Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Eye Infirmary Receives Accreditation From College of American Pathologists

Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-3341

March 12, 1999 -- The Coolidge Clinical Laboratory of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has recently been awarded a two-year accreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent on-site inspection.
Inspectors examined the records and quality control of the laboratory for the preceding two years, as well as the education and qualification of the total staff, the adequacy of the facilities, the equipment, laboratory safety, and laboratory management to determine how well the laboratory is serving the patient.
CAP is the world's largest association composed exclusively of pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance.

Kenyan Children Injured in Blast Travel to the U.S. for Specialized Eye Care

Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-4170

February 2, 1999 -- Three Kenyan children, victims of the August 7 bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, are receiving specialized medical treatment at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary for eye injuries sustained during the blast.
The children are beneficiaries of the Nairobi Children's Initiative, a broad-based, private-sector-led program in which communities and organizations both in Kenya and in the United States donated financial and in-kind resources for their treatment.
According to Maria Stephens, program coordinator who is affiliated with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the children are members of a tight-knit Asian/Kenyan community who attend a school near the Embassy. "The boys were traveling on a bus from their school to their homes and were near the Embassy when the blast occurred," she said. Distracted by a grenade explosion, the children looked out the bus window just prior to the blast and were injured when the windows in the bus shattered and glass shards flew into their eyes, Stephens added.
The children were selected for the Nairobi Children's Initiative by a team of American and Kenyan doctors after extensive post-operative assessments were made on those individuals who sustained both eye and ear injuries from the bombing. Physicians at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary worked with Kenyan doctors Henry Adala, A.K. Shah, Harish Rupani, M.M. Bhaiji and Mr. R. Gohil to determine which patients would benefit most from treatment at the Infirmary. Dr. Adala played a lead role in overseeing the centralized needs assessment, which took place in November at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, and screened for prospective patients through this assessment as well.
The three boys, ranging in age from 7 to 17 years old, arrived in the United States on January 30 with their parents and Ms. Stephens. Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary physicians Drs. Dimitri Azar and Claes Dohlman have examined two of the children to determine follow-up treatment. The third child will be examined by Dr. Anthony Adamis later in the week.
The Nairobi Children's Initiative is a model of collaboration between several organizations. Free housing (an entire house), food staples and transportation are provided by the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown and the National Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired. KLM/NW Airlines have donated free roundtrip airline tickets to the children and their accompanying parents. Members of the diplomatic and business communities in Kenya provided financial support.
Ms. Stephens, who is originally from the Boston area, contacted the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary after the bombing to ask for assistance.
Founded in 1824 and celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617 523-7900 or TDD 617 523-5498.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Researcher Issued Patent
Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-4170

Walter P. Carney, Ph.D.
President Director, Public Affairs, Oncogene Science Diagnostics, Inc.
617 492-7289
Matthew D. Haines
Director, Corporate Communications, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
516 222-0023

January 25, 1999 --Oncogene Science Diagnostics, Inc. (OSDI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OSIP), and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary today announced the issuance to the Infirmary of a U.S. patent, No. 5,853,988, which pertains to the use of DNA probes for the diagnosis and treatment of retinoblastoma as well as methods of detecting defective retinoblastoma (Rb) genes in patients with other types of solid tumor cancers. The announcement highlights significant work carried out at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary by Thaddeus P. Dryja, M.D, and at the Whitehead Institute by Stephen Friend, M.D., Ph.D. OSDI holds an exclusive license to this patent as well as others that have been granted to the Infirmary in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
"This invention could eventually lead to significantly improved medical care for patients suffering from retinoblastoma, a sometimes fatal eye cancer that primarily afflicts children from birth through 5 years of age," stated Dr. Dryja. "With effective DNA diagnosis, children in high-risk families can be identified before they develop the disease, allowing the cancer to be diagnosed and treated promptly, potentially saving both the life and vision of the child."
The Rb gene is an important tumor suppressor gene that is necessary for controlling cell proliferation. Numerous studies suggest that there is clinical value in detecting either mutations or deletions of the Rb gene. The mutation or deletion of Rb results in a loss of Rb function that contributes to the development of certain solid tumor cancers, such as head and neck squamous carcinomas, breast cancer, osteosarcomas, soft tissue sarcomas, small cell lung cancer, and esophageal cancer.
Walter P. Carney, President of Oncogene Science Diagnostics, Inc., commented, "The addition of this latest patent to OSDI's broad diagnostics patent estate, which includes patents for HER-2/neu, ras, and PAI-1 as well as the use of DNA probes, including OSDI's FDA-approved TransProbe-1Æ for the diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia, potentially strengthens our competitive position in the global cancer testing marketplace and further differentiates Oncogene Science Diagnostics from its competitors."
Oncogene Science Diagnostics, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, develops, manufactures and sells high quality, ready-to-use, manual cancer reagent systems to commercial and clinical research customers worldwide. Information on OSDI's products and services is available on OSDI's web site at, or by contacting Jeff Whitaker, General Sales Manager, by phone at 888-OSI-DIAG or by e-mail at
Founded in 1824, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research, and a major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Infirmary researchers, in collaboration with researchers at the Whitehead Institute, discovered the first hereditary cancer gene--the retinoblastoma gene--which provided fundamental insight into the most basic workings of cancer and opened a promising field of cancer study.
OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Uniondale, New York, is a leading drug discovery company with a substantial pipeline of product opportunities for commercialization with the pharmaceutical industry. Additional information on OSI Pharmaceuticals is available on OSI's web site at


Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Elects New Board Members and Trustees

Contact: Public Affairs
617 573-3341

January 12, 1999--The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently elected three individuals for three-year terms as board members:
• Lily H. Bentas, President, CEO and chairperson of Cumberland Farms, Inc.
• Herb W. Pollack, chairman and founder of Parlex Corporation
• David W. Scudder, a partner in the investment firm of Wellington Management Company
The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has also recently elected three individuals for five-year terms as trustees:
• Richard J. Chaffin of R/C Consulting in Needham
• Cheryl L. Clarkson, President and CEO of M.D. Partners America
• Christopher E. Nolin, a partner at Warner & Stackpole
Founded in 1824, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research, and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.
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