Bayer Biological Products Launches National Campaign to Promote Diagnosis and Treatment of Primary Immunodeficiency

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer Biological Products (BP) announced today a nationwide "Don't Be Immune To The Signs" campaign to generate greater awareness about Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) diseases.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a PI disease results whenever one or more essential parts of the immune system is missing or not working properly because of a genetic defect.

Bayer will sponsor a variety of educational and communications initiatives as part of the campaign in support of National PI Awareness Week, April 21-27, 2003. The campaign's objective is to reach patients, parents, and healthcare providers to help them identify the signs associated with a PI disease. The first phase of the campaign includes widespread distribution of "Don't Be Immune To The Signs" educational posters for PI Awareness Week, produced in conjunction with The Immune Deficiency Foundation (www.primaryimmune.com), and The Jeffrey Modell Foundation (www.jmfworld.org). The poster content and image also will be used in a national advertising campaign, with ads in USA Today, intermittently during PI Awareness Week. Other components of the campaign will include direct mail, as well as outreach to health care professionals and consumers. Bayer representatives also will be working to raise awareness about PI at teaching and community hospitals throughout the nation.

When undiagnosed and untreated, individuals who have a PI disease -- many of whom are infants and children -- get one infection after another. A "sick" immune system can often be identified through multiple new infections per year of the sinuses, ears, and lungs; but achieving the proper diagnosis is often difficult. As such, a PI disease can go undetected for years, which can lead to life-threatening infections and debilitating illnesses. However, with proper diagnosis, disease management tools are available, including drug therapies that replenish the immune system's defenses.

"Although PI is considered a rare disease, it is estimated that as many as half of those who have a PI disease in the United States are currently undiagnosed," said Terry Tenbrunsel, vice president of sales and marketing for Bayer Biological Products. "We are embarking on this campaign to help physicians, parents, and adults recognize the warning signs so people with a PI disease can be diagnosed early and treated properly."

Gail Moore of Lakeland, Fla., whose mother and daughter have both been diagnosed with a PI disease, knows all too well about the importance of greater awareness and early detection. "It took me two years and many nights in the hospital before my daughter was diagnosed. Few front-line physicians are aware that primary immunodeficiency diseases are more prevalent than the "boy-in-the-bubble" disease, and earlier diagnosis is crucial to successful patient treatment."

The World Health Organization currently recognizes approximately 85 primary immune deficiency diseases, including X-linked Agammaglobulinemia (Bruton's Disease), Common Variable Immune Deficiency (also called Hypogammaglobulinemia), Selective IgA Deficiency, and Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (more commonly known as "boy-in-the-bubble" disease).

Source: Bayer Biological Products

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