A Medical Device Daily

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS; Rosemont, Illinois) held its annual Research Capitol Hill Days last week, emphasizing the need for federal funding for musculoskeletal research to increase awareness regarding the impact of musculoskeletal conditions on patients and families.

Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the department of orthopedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center (Chicago) and chair of the AAOS Research Development Committee, said it is crucial “that additional musculoskeletal research funding is made available to further advancements in treatments and technology, and identify preventive measures and possible cures.“

The association reports that in 2003, musculoskeletal-related conditions accounted for 157 million visits to physicians' offices, 29 million visits to emergency room departments, 15 million visits to hospital outpatient departments and 8 million hospitalizations.

After a $3 million cut in FY06, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS; Bethesda, Maryland) will see its funding cut by an additional $3 million or .6% in FY07. And AAOS said that the orthopedic community is urging Congress to allocate $533.7 million in FY07 for NIAMS, a 5% increase from last year.

“If Congress were to implement the president's budget request, NIAMS would suffer its second consecutive budget decrease,“ said Joshua Jacobs, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center and chair of the AAOS Council on Research, Quality Assessment and Technology.

The 73rd annual meeting of AAOS is March 22-26 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

SEC to hold Sarbanes-Oxley hearing

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) reported that they would sponsor a roundtable May 10 at SEC headquarters to discuss second-year experiences with the reporting and auditing requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 related to companies' internal control over financial reporting.

The roundtable discussion will include issuers, auditors, investors and other interested parties.

The SEC's Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies has proposed changes to the Section 404 requirements of the corporate governance law (Medical Device Daily, Feb. 23, 2006).

“Last spring's informative roundtable resulted in valuable guidance,“ said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “We look forward to an update on compliance efforts after year two. I'm pleased that the PCAOB is coordinating this year's roundtable with the SEC. We will carefully consider the facts presented to help develop policies to effectively and efficiently improve the reliability of financial statements for the benefit of investors.“

The SEC and the PCAOB also said that, in addition to the roundtable, they are seeking written feedback from registrants, auditors, investors and others on their experiences with complying with the Section 404 requirements. The commission is not soliciting feedback on a particular set of inquiries. The information that is submitted to either organization will become part of the public record of the Section 404 roundtable.

Members of the public are encouraged to provide the submissions before May 1.

Altair exec testifies for nano-support

The president and CEO of Altair Nanotechnologies (Altairnano; Reno, Nevada) last week urged the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to provide increased federal funding for nanotechnology, comparing that initiative to ground-breaking moon shots or mapping of the human genome.

“What we need is an initiative – similar in scope to the Human Genome project – with the goal of establishing broad empirical data and models for the predictability of the environmental, health and safety risks of commercially-interesting nanomaterials,“ said Alan Gotcher, PhD, president and CEO of Altairnano. “Private-sector participation is critical – federal funding to for-profit companies has to be accepted as a trade-off for their sharing of results.“

Gotcher described chemical/biological sensors that can detect and display information about life-threatening biohazards. He stressed that companies such as Altairnano are committed environmental stewardship.

“The hyperbole about nanotechnology is tremendous, but the potential for this technology to change our lives in many fundamental and positive ways is real,“ said Gotcher.

Altairnano is working with Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) and University of Nevada-Reno to develop arrays capable of detecting potential explosives, chem/bio weapons and illegal drugs.

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