The G. B. Bietti Foundation for Study and Research in Ophthalmology is a non-profit organization established in 1984 with the legal recognition of the President of the Republic, and named after the illustrious ophthalmologist Prof. G.B. Bietti, a world renowned scholar and physician who died in 1977.
The Foundation, represented by its President Prof. Mario Stirpe, has played a key role in solving the problem of cornea transplants, which in 1993 were still performed abroad, with enormous expenses sustained by the National Health Service.
In June 1993, during a hearing in the Chamber of Deputies requested by the Bietti Foundation, its President discussed the need for an immediate change in existing legislation, which change took place after a mere two months, resulting in the separate treatment of cornea transplants compared to other organ transplants. This was a key step that brought about the establishment of Latium Eye Bank at the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital, in partnership with the Foundation.
On 15 February 2005, the G.B. Bietti Foundation received legal recognition as a Research Hospital [Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico] in the field of ophthalmology, pursuant to Legislative Decree 288/2003.
In light of the collaboration established with the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital, a specialized hospital of national relevance, in the management of the Eye Bank, the idea came about to bring the private Bietti Foundation’s research laboratories and clinical facilities into the public San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital, in order to better fulfill the Foundation’s mission as a Research Hospital and non-profit organization: to make available clinical and scientific resources and activities for the benefit of the National Health Service.
Based on these premises, the activities of the Research Hospital of the G.B. Bietti Foundations took place in two main facilities: its legal headquarters and ophthalmology research clinic in via Livenza n. 3 (Authorization from the Municipality of Rome n. 20 of 06/03/2002 and Provisional Accreditation for research and experimental procedures, Regional Government Deliberation n. 242 of 21/04/2006) and the Presidio Ospedaliero Britannico, in via S. Stefano Rotondo n. 6 (Regional Government Deliberation of 29/03/2008, D.P.C.A .n. U0027 of 16/06/2009, Decree of 02/05/2011 published in the Official Gazette n. 120 of 25/05/2011 ), of the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital, an authorized and accredited highly specialized public hospital of national relevance, operating locally under the RMA Local Health Authority.
The Foundation’s strategic goals in its collaboration with the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital are as follows:
- Developing, in keeping with its statutory goals, translational research activities through the management of ordinary hospital admissions, day hospital, and outpatient activities, in order to rapidly transfer the research results obtained to benefit the overall population, by ensuring high quality medical treatment and assistance and the use of latest-generation equipment and therapies;
- Contributing to the activities of the National Health Service by providing the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital with human and technological research which can improve its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services at no additional cost to the hospital itself;
- Building an ophthalmology center of national and international relevance, where high-profile biomedical research can be carried out under the highest standards of excellence and integrated with health care activities.
The central theme of the Foundation’s mission is to develop and guarantee high levels of skills and knowledge in the ophthalmology field, and to make them available to citizens and the National Health Service. More specifically, the Foundation’s mission, as defined in its Statute, consists of the promotion of research, study, documentation, and experimentation in the field of medicine, with particular attention to prevention, early diagnosis, and rehabilitation in the field of ophthalmology.
The Foundation’s well documented excellence in clinical and scientific activities, and its acknowledged role in the national and international scientific community, have led the Ministry of Health, with its decree of 15 February 2005, signed by the Minister of Health Girolamo Sirchia in agreement with the President of the Latium Region Francesco Storace (Official Gazette n. 50 of 2 March 2005), confirmed by the decree of 2 May 2011 signed by the Minister of Health Ferruccio Fazio in agreement with the President of the Latium Region Renata Polverini (Official Gazette n. 120 of 2 May 2011), to grant the G.B. Bietti Foundation recognition as a Research Hospital [Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico] in the field of “ophthalmology”. Furthermore the recognition of the Scientific Character for the discipline of Ophthalmology of IRCCS private-law G.B. Foundation Bietti with legal office in Via Livenza n. 3, Rome and Via Santo Stefano Rotondo n. 6 at the Presidio Britannico - San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital was also confirmed by decree of December 3, 2015 signed by the Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin (decree n. 301, 29.12.2015).
Legislative Decree 288/2003 defines I.R.C.C.S. (Istituti di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico) as “Autonomous, nationally-relevant entities endowed with legal status which pursue, according to standards of excellence, prevalently translational research in the biomedical field and in the organization and management of health services, while providing highly specialized inpatient and treatment services”. The goal of research is thus to be put to use in everyday clinical activities, in particular with regards to the structures of the National Health Services, while abiding by the highest standards of excellence and providing highly specialized health and assistance services.
The philosophy underlying translational research is thus that of the timely application of research results for the benefit of patients. The Regional Health Plan for 2010-2012 specifies that IRCCS are asked to play an important role in the development of the Regional Health Service at several levels:
- Continuous training for the staff of the Regional Health Service by offering CME courses focusing both on training for new types of procedures and on the evaluation methodology for interventions and medical research;
- Evaluation of new technologies, new preventive procedures, and new organizational models;
- Development of research on methodological and organizational aspects that can be easily transferred to other entities of the Regional Health Service, through the establishment of regional research networks that are integrated with national and international networks;
- Support for activities carried out by the Regional Health Service which require a high degree of specialization, with the possibility of providing technical support or acting as a hub for surveillance and control activities;
- Acting as a hubwith regards to regional planning in hub and spoke network systems.
The code 913 as a company and the code 120913 as an institute are assigned to the IRCCS G.B. Bietti Foundation (Prot. nr. 1151314 A/012123 of 27/09/2005). .
The Clinical Trials Centre and the Maculopathy Centre of the IRCCS are endowed with the most modern and advanced technology for the diagnosis and treatment of serious eye diseases.
The technological endowment of the G.B. Bietti Foundation Research Hospital has been augmented in recent years as a result of the many ongoing clinical trials. This endowment will provide constant encouragement for the further pursuit of research in ophthalmology. The equipment in use at the Bietti Foundation was purchased thanks to the generous contribution of the Roma Foundation.
The diagnostic equipment includes equipment to study pathologies of the cornea and the crystalline lens, such as computed tomography, aberrometry of the human eye, Scheimpflug camera, conofocal corneal microscopy, and anterior segment OCT.
Equipment for the study of the retina and the optical nerve include spectral domain OCT, computerized microperimetry, digital fluoroangiography, scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO), the computerized analysis of retinal nerve fibres (GDx) and a non-mydriatic retinoscope. Surgical equipment includes a latest-generation femtosecond laser platform for corneal surgery (cornea transplants), two cataract surgery systems (phacoemulsification), and one retinal surgery system (vitrectomy). The Foundation is also equipped with a latest-generation diode laser system for retinal photocoagulation. The G.B. Bietti Foundation IRCCS is hosting numerous clinical trials for the evaluation of new medical or parasurgical therapies for the treatment of pathologies of the retina and the optical nerve, including, among others, the clinical treatment protocol for severe diabetic macular edema with the intravitreal injection of Ozurdex® and the treatment of patients suffering from senile macular degeneration with the intravitreal injection of Lucentis®. Researchers from the G.B. Bietti Foundation are also working in research and development of new nano-pharmacological treatments.
The Clinical Trials Centre of the G.B. Bietti Foundation IRCCS is endowed, for research purposes exclusively, of the only Italian prototype of an adaptive optics ophthalmoscope. This instrument makes it possible to visualize microscopy data in real time, and represents a first step towards the ultra-early diagnosis of retinal diseases..