Oct 28 2006, 12:00 PM EST
A special dedication ceremony was held today at Duke University Medical Center for the opening of the Duke IDF Center of Excellence for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases. The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), through a generous grant from Talecris Biotherapeutics totaling more than $125,000 over two years, has collaborated with Duke to make this center available to patients and physicians with the goal of increasing early diagnosis and improving treatment and care for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PID). The center, housed in the Duke University Medical Center, includes some of the world’s leading experts and state-of-the-art facilities focusing on the research and clinical care of PID.
“Through the IDF Center of Excellence, we will continue to pursue our goals to offer the best available options for rapid, accurate diagnosis of primary immunodeficiency diseases, to define the molecular causes, and to ensure the optimum and most effective treatments for those patients,” said Rebecca H. Buckley, M.D., center director and the J. Buren Sidbury Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Immunology at Duke University Medical Center. “Diagnosis of a primary immunodeficiency often takes as long as nine years, primarily because of a lack of familiarity with these diseases by both health care providers and patients. Working collaboratively with IDF and Talecris, we believe this Center of Excellence will go a long way toward improving awareness of PID among referring physicians, speeding diagnosis, and providing the optimal therapy more quickly for our patients.”
Along with Dr. Buckley, the following representatives of IDF, Duke, and Talecris participated in the dedication ceremony and presented their views on the importance of the new center and the opportunities it presents.
— R. Michael Blaese, M.D., Medical Director of the Immune Deficiency Foundation
— A. Wesley Burks, M.D., Chief, Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Duke University Medical Center
— Joseph W. St. Geme, III, M.D., Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center
— Ross McKinney, M.D., Vice Dean for Research, Duke University School of Medicine
— Alberto Martinez, M.D., President and CEO of Talecris Biotherapeutics
Additionally, two patients, H. Burns Blackwell and Nicholas Schwab, who will be beneficiaries of the new center, shared their views on how the center will support efforts for those with immunodeficiencies to receive the best possible care and optimize opportunities for improved quality of life.
The new IDF Center of Excellence at Duke includes a staff of more than 21 physician-scientists, nurses, post-doctoral fellows, technicians, and other health care professionals who focus on advancing the diagnosis and therapy of PID. Distinguishing features of the center include:
— having the largest number of faculty in the U.S. with expertise in primary immunodeficiency diseases.
— developing sophisticated diagnostic testing utilized by many outside physicians.
— being the largest center in the United States performing life-saving T cell-depleted haploidentical bone marrow stem cell transplants for infants with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).
— being the largest center in the world performing life-saving thymic transplants for infants with complete DiGeorge syndrome.
— treating a large number of patients with antibody deficiency with intravenous or subcutaneous immunoglobulin.
Dr. Blaese spoke about achieving IDF’s continuing goals through Centers of Excellence. “This IDF Center of Excellence is an especially gratifying collaboration that brings together the strengths and commitments of IDF with those of a leading academic institution providing sophisticated diagnostic testing and therapy. Whenever we see programs that expand and improve care for the primary immunodeficient community, IDF will be there doing everything it can to facilitate the process. We are extremely grateful to Duke University Medical Center and Talecris.”
Dr. Martinez represented Talecris’ views on how industry should support these kinds of partnerships. “Clearly, the most important thing we can do to support the primary immunodeficient community is to provide safe, reliable supplies of therapies that effectively treat PID. But we also know we can broaden our ability to improve patient outcomes when we partner effectively with patient organizations like IDF and academic institutions like Duke.”
The Role of a “Center of Excellence”
Through basic research into pathophysiological mechanisms, and clinical studies whereby new findings can be tested, Duke immunologists will continue to work to improve diagnosis and treatment and to provide patients and their families the best available information about primary immunodeficiency diseases. A Center of Excellence goes beyond what is available at the average medical facility. Because such centers offer advanced tests and procedures not yet incorporated into accepted standards of care and therefore not reimbursed by insurance companies, the cost of performing these advanced tests and procedures must be covered by other funds – funds often difficult to secure. A portion of the Talecris grant through IDF will be applied by the Duke center to support these advanced procedures with the goal of providing additional evidence needed to incorporate these tests and procedures into new standards of care.
About Duke University Medical Center
Duke University Medical Center is consistently ranked among the top ten health care organizations in the country. The youngest of the nation’s leading medical centers, Duke has earned an international reputation for innovation and excellence. With hundreds of board-certified specialists and subspecialists, Duke offers expertise in every health care discipline. Duke also operates one of the country’s largest clinical and biomedical research enterprises, and quickly translates advances in technology and medical knowledge into improved patient care.
About the Immune Deficiency Foundation
The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), founded in 1980, is the national nonprofit health organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of primary immunodeficiency diseases through research, education and advocacy. There are more than 250,000 people in the United States who have a primary immunodeficiency disease. These individuals often find it difficult to receive specialized healthcare, proper diagnosis and effective treatment. Individuals affected by primary immunodeficiency diseases also experience difficulties financing their healthcare, finding educational materials on the disease, and locating others with whom to share their experiences. The goal of IDF is to help individuals overcome these difficulties so that they can live healthy and productive lives. For more information about the IDF, visit http://www.primaryimmune.org or call IDF at 1-800-296-4433. To be included in the distribution list of Primary Immune Tribune, please send a request to email@example.com.
About Talecris Biotherapeutics
Talecris Biotherapeutics is a global biotherapeutic and biotechnology company that discovers, develops and produces critical care treatments for people with life-threatening disorders in a variety of therapeutic areas including immunology, pulmonology, and hemostasis. Talecris is proudly building upon a 60-year legacy of innovation and a commitment to improving the lives of people who rely on its therapeutic products. With an emphasis on scientific inquiry and technological excellence, Talecris is expanding its current portfolio of products, programs, and services through its own world-class product development organization as well as through strategic initiatives that leverage its strengths with those of its partners.
Talecris, which earned revenues exceeding $1 billion through the year ending June 30, 2006, is headquartered in the biotech hub Research Triangle Park, N.C., and employs more than 2,000 talented people worldwide. To learn more about Talecris and how our employees are making a difference in the lives of patients and the healthcare community, visit http://www.talecris.com.