Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Announces TETF Investment in At-Home Macular Degeneration Monitoring Technology

Friday, June 24, 2011  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry has announced the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) has awarded $1 million to Vital Art and Science Inc. (VAS) for the development of a handheld application capable of diagnosing and monitoring age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

"The Texas Emerging Technology Fund continues to be a critical tool to help develop and bring to market innovative technologies with the potential to change lives not just here in Texas, but across the U.S. and abroad," Gov. Perry said. "VAS's technology will provide an accurate and cost-effective monitoring solution for the millions around the world who suffer from macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, and will help physicians treat these age and vision-related diseases."

VAS is developing myVisionTrack, which allows patients with age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy to easily and accurately test and monitor their retinal function at home. This technology provides a lower cost alternative to doctor's office based testing, and a more accurate alternative to current home testing methods. Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Americans age 60 and older, and combined with diabetic retinopathy, affect more than 40 million people around the world. There is currently no cure for these conditions, which must be constantly and accurately monitored in order to be properly treated.

"I am excited about the steps made by Vital Arts and Science Inc. and the ability for the TETF to help make these innovations a reality," Rep. Angie Chen Button said. "Not only will our region and state benefit economically from this technological advancement, but people everywhere who are suffering with these vision-related ailments will find relief with more convenient and effective monitoring and treatment."

This technology was developed at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest in Dallas, which along with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, will support clinical trials of the technology.

The TETF is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the governor's request, and reauthorized in 2007 and again in 2009. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House. To date, the TETF has allocated more than $197.2 million in funds to 133 early stage companies, and $173 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities.

For more information on the TETF, please visit http://www.emergingtechfund.com.  

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