BREAKTHROUGH FROM GLAKOSMITHKLINE
Preliminary trials have shown an experimental vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to be 100 percent effective at protecting against the two strains of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) responsible for most cervical cancer cases worldwide. In a study led by Diane Harper, MD, of Dartmouth Medical School and published in the British medical journal The Lancet, 1,113 women aged 15 to 25 in the United States, Canada and Brazil were randomized to receive either three doses of the GSK vaccine or a placebo and were followed for up to 27 months. None of the vaccinated women developed infections or precancerous cervical lesions, whereas 14 women who received placebo contracted HPV strains 16 and 18, the most dangerous variants. It is estimated that the vaccine, which showed excellent safety and few side effects, could potentially prevent 70 percent of all cervical cancers worldwide if given to women before they become sexually active.
More than 10,000 women in the U.S. and about 500,000 women across the globe contract cervical cancer each year, and more than half die. It is the leading cancer killer among women in the developing world.
GSK plans to file in 2006 for approval of its vaccine, called Cervarix, in Europe, and the vaccine may gain approval in the U.S. as well within roughly four years. Merck & Co. has also developed a vaccine, and currently both companies are testing their vaccines in thousands of women around the world to confirm their effectiveness and safety. Dr. Anne Szarewski, a clinic consultant at Cancer Research UK and chief of the London trials of GSK’s vaccine, stated, “I feel that the work we are doing on this vaccine is the most exciting development in cervical cancer research in many years.”
ONE-STOP RESOURCE GUIDE
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), one of the nation’s leading advocacy and service organizations for the more than 54 million Americans with disabilities, has provided through the Internet one of the most complete community-based resource listings for people with disabilities available today. By visiting the UCP web site, individuals with disabilities and their families can now easily access contact information for organizations, nonprofit service providers and state government offices in every state in the nation. People with disabilities, parents of young children with a new diagnosis, caregivers and advocacy organizations can locate information and resources for early intervention, assistive technology, employment, housing, transportation and many more topics.
Though UCP and its nationwide affiliate network will continue to offer free one-to-one information and referral services to the public, anyone with access to the Internet now can also find information independently with this easily accessible resource. The guides for each state are free and simple to download. Information and referral resources listed are organized in alphabetical categories with complete contact information. “Staying informed and knowing where to find help are huge steps towards achieving full independence,” said Margaret Muffi Lavigne, UCP information and referral coordinator. “These guides are.”
United Cerebral Palsy
After investigating the conditions of the Woodbridge Developmental Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the Justice Department found substantial evidence of civil rights violations. “The residents of facilities such as Woodbridge are among our most vulnerable,” noted Assistant Attorney General R. Alexander Acosta. “When the state pledges responsibility for them, it has a binding obligation to protect them from harm and to respect their rights under federal law.”
Woodbridge provides care for approximately 500 residents with developmental disabilities. The Justice Department’s investigation, initiated in April 2003, uncovered significant civil rights and statutory violations. The Department found compelling evidence that the facility fails to protect residents from harm, the residents receive constitutionally deficient medical care and behavioral services, and the facility uses restraints excessively. For instance, according to the allegations in the findings letter, a resident known to be at risk for self-choking was left unsupervised and choked himself to death with bread. In another incident, a resident sustained a fracture after a staff member forcibly twisted his arm. The findings letter further alleges that residents are prescribed psychiatric medications for prolonged periods—in one instance, approximately four and a half years—without being seen by a psychiatrist. The Department also identified significant evidence that the state violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by unjustifiably institutionalizing Woodbridge residents.
The Department conducted its investigation pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, which authorizes the attorney general to investigate and remedy systemic institutional abuses. Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has opened 45 investigations into the terms and conditions of confinement at 52 nursing homes, mental health facilities, residences for people with developmental disabilities, juvenile justice facilities and jails. These figures represent a substantial increase over the 35 such investigations during the preceding four years.
Department of Justice
NEW FREEDOM INITIATIVE AWARD
Five businesses, three non-profits, and one National Football League player received the Secretary of Labor’s annual New Freedom Initiative Award for service to people with disabilities. “President Bush wants all Americans to have the opportunity to develop skills and engage in productive work,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “New Freedom Initiative Award recipients recognize the value that persons with disabilities bring to the workplace, and that wisdom is reflected in their daily actions and operations.”
The new award is based on President George W. Bush’s New Freedom Initiative, a comprehensive set of proposals designed to give people with disabilities the opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of community life, including employment. The award recognizes exemplary and innovative efforts to incorporate the principles of the initiative and to train, recruit and hire people with disabilities.
Recipients include Michael John Maslowski, linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs; Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities; Project SEARCH, an employment and education progr am at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; Salt Lake Community College Skills Center Projects with Industry; A & F Wood Products; HewlettPackard Company; MBNA America Bank; Microsoft Corporation; and SunTrust Banks Inc.
Dept. of Labor