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Baxter and the Jeffrey Modell Foundation Support Efforts to Increase Awareness of Primary Immunodeficiency during the Annual World Day of Immunology

Thu, 04/29/2010 - 6:21am
Baxter Healthcare

Deerfield, IL, April 29, 2010 - Today, Baxter International, Inc. and the Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) are supporting expanded global activities in conjunction with the 6th annual World Day of Immunology. The goal is to help increase awareness for earlier diagnosis and treatment of Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (PID), a group of genetic disorders that occur when part of the immune system is missing or does not work correctly.

The European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) established the annual World Day of Immunology to strengthen public awareness of PID. This year, activities include the opening of several Jeffrey Modell Centers in Europe and Latin America, regional patient and physician education programs, and a signing event at the European Union Parliament emphasizing a call-to-action for national governments to increase awareness and diagnosis of PID.

"Our physician education and public awareness campaign in both the U.S and worldwide has had a dramatic impact on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with PID. Thus far, the Jeffrey Modell Foundation has conducted this awareness campaign in 52 countries, spanning six continents," said Fred Modell, co-founder of JMF. "This process has generated increases of more than 25 percent annually in the number of patients referred, diagnosed and treated. When properly diagnosed, there has been a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for affected patients. The number of infections, hospital visits, and overall healthcare costs has decreased by over 70 percent. We are enthusiastic about the expansion of the JMF's scope in Europe and Latin America as part of this year's campaign, and we look forward to similar positive results in these regions."

Through EFIS, the World Day of Immunology was first championed by Professor Reinhold E. Schmidt, MD, Center Director of Immunology and Rheumatology at the Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany.  "The annual World Day of Immunology has expanded into an amazing worldwide initiative. Last year alone, more than 52 countries were represented by awareness initiatives," stated Dr. Schmidt. "We are encouraged by the support from leading organizations like JMF and Baxter and hope to see these efforts continue to grow so that patients may find better access to earlier diagnosis and optimal treatments."

To support awareness of the World Day of Immunology, Baxter is recognizing events and initiatives in the European Union and Latin America including:

European Union:

  • On April 28, the European Union Parliament is signing and endorsing the Primary Immunodeficiencies Call To Action to help ensure increased visibility of PID and encourage national health authorities to include PID in their national rare disease plans.  Members of the EU Parliament will meet with their respective JMF Center representative to discuss the PID situation and learn about the important work being carried out by the Center to appropriately diagnose young children and adults living with this devastating condition.

  • Professor Reinhold E. Schmidt, MD, Center Director of Immunology and Rheumatology at the Hannover Medical School, is hosting more than 700 students for an immunology-learning program. The event will be held at the Baxter-supported JMF center at the Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany on April 29.

Baxter also announces its support of several JMF Centers for PID across the EU, including: Dublin, Ireland; Rotterdam and Utrecht, The Netherlands; Warsaw, Poland; Leipzig and Freiburg, Germany; and Rome, Italy.

Latin America:

  • Baxter announces its support of a JMF Center for PID at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia.

  • In connection with the World Day of Immunology, Colombia is also hosting countrywide awareness events in the following locations: 
    • Medellín - Fundación Diana Garcia de Olarte
    • Bogotá - Hospital San Ignacio
    • Cali - Fundación Valle del Lili

  • ABRI (Brazilian Association for Immunodeficiencies) and The Allergy and Immunology Department of Universidade Estadual de São Paulo (UNIFESP), the first Jeffrey Modell Center in Latin America, are driving education and awareness programs with federal outreach throughout Brazil.  The kick-off event will take place in São Paulo with over 200 patients, families and physicians attending.

  • In Rosario, Argentina local advocates will open up a new subsidiary of the Association of Patients with Primary Immunodeficiencies and will expand services in that area for patients with PID.

A complete list of Baxter-recognized events and initiatives, as well as links to PID resources, is available at www.baxterbiotherapeutics.com.

"Baxter is pleased to be a part of this growing awareness initiative for PID. Over the past six years the collaborative efforts of leading global organizations like JMF and EFIS have allowed for more patients to be diagnosed and treated early," states Hartmut Ehrlich, M.D., vice president of research and development for Baxter's BioScience business. "We look forward to our continuing work with these organizations to provide resources that support and help improve the lives of people with PID."

About EFIS

The European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) is an umbrella organization that represents more than 12,000 individual members from 28 member societies in 31 European countries (all European Union member states and all other European states) and reaches beyond the European boundaries to Israel. The aim of EFIS is to develop the exchange of knowledge between basic and clinical immunology for practicing physicians, researchers, and patients.

About Jeffrey Modell Foundation

Vicki and Fred Modell founded the Jeffrey Modell Foundation in 1987, in memory of their son Jeffrey, who died at the age of fifteen from complications of a Primary Immunodeficiency - a genetic condition that is chronic, serious, and often fatal. JMF is a global nonprofit organization devoted to early and precise diagnosis, meaningful treatments, and ultimately, cures through clinical and basic research, physician education, patient support, advocacy, and public awareness.

About Baxter International Inc.

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide.

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