Miriam Mikesell always knew the importance of eye care and researching new treatment options. Her mother, husband, and great uncle all had Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a sight-stealing condition affecting central vision. With her husband, she had made many trips to Ohio State since the early '90s to see Drs. Paul Weber and Frederick Davidorf.
When she was elected as the Grand Chief of the Pythian Sisters—an international sisterhood—and was asked to choose an altruistic project, she knew that it would be AMD research. “AMD runs in my family, and the OSU doctors were so good to treat Bob, my late husband,” said Miriam. “They were kind and helpful. When it was time for me to find a project, eye research was the first thing that came to mind.”
Together, the Pythian Sisters were able to raise $10,000 to support the research of John Christoforidis, MD. Dr. Christoforidis has been working on a series of projects over the last two years evaluating medications that are used to treat AMD; primarily Avastin®, Eyelea®, and Lucentis®. One important question was what happens to these agents once they are in the blood after a surgical procedure.
“We simply don’t have any way to track it,” said Dr. Christoforidis. “So, I went to the OSU College of Pharmacy and asked them what I would need to track the medication after an intravitreal injection. They recommended an ELISA Test Kit which cost close to $20,000. The Pythian Sisters donation was invaluable, and the project could not have been completed without them.”
The project was completed utilizing an animal model and was very successful. Dr. Christoforidis has submitted a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal with his results.
“I can name you sister after sister that’s affected with eye disease," said Miriam. "We were very fortunate to be able to support Dr. Christoforidis’ important research. We’re grateful to be able to help make a difference.”