Model of DRCR Retina Network needed in other specialties
The DRCR Retina Network is a successful collaboration among the National Eye Institute, the Jaeb Center for Health Research, academic medical center-based retinal specialists, private practice colleagues and the ophthalmic industry.
In Minnesota, both the Mayo Clinic department of ophthalmology and the University of Minnesota department of ophthalmology and visual neurosciences participate along with nearly 20 very busy and talented vitreoretinal surgeons in private practice.
The DRCR Retina Network collaboration has generated 32 protocols since it was founded in 2002, mostly prospective randomized clinical trials that generate level 1 information to guide us in clinical practice. As I count, more than 100 peer-reviewed publications have been generated and thousands of lectures presented around the world by the group’s physician and study support participants.
The impact of the DRCR Retina Network on the quality of care provided to the patient with retinal disease has been immense and global in nature. For a comprehensive review of the 26 completed and six active protocols, with more to come, you can go to its website at www.drcr.net. The published papers are also listed on this website, and one can enter any city and/or protocol to locate participating centers in currently ongoing clinical trials.
I believe this amazingly successful model deserves consideration for other specialties, as there are many challenging and unanswered question in my anterior segment practice focused on cataract, cornea, glaucoma and refractive surgery that would benefit from well-controlled collaborative prospective randomized clinical trials. I encourage a young, energetic, talented anterior segment surgeon to study the DRCR Retina Network model and catalyze bringing something similar to the front of the eye. There will be many ready to join in the effort and help you.