On Wednesday, actress Angelina Jolie wrote in The New York Times about her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy to lessen her chance of developing breast cancer. Jolie carries the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Since then, her decision has been the subject of intense discussion, but few have noted her mention of testing and care for women in low-income countries, where noncommunicable diseases including cancer are a growing concern. Coincidentally, our director of noncommunicable diseases, Helen McGuire, addressed the subject on our blog on Wednesday.
At $1, this diarrhea vaccine paves way for social innovation
Forbes India, May 15, 2013
After nearly 25 years of work involving multi-institution, multicountry collaboration, India yesterday announced its first locally developed anti-diarrhea vaccine. Effective against a strain of rotavirus that causes severe diarrhea among children under five in India, this vaccine is one of the emerging examples which show how the world in general, and India in particular, needs a different model for developing new therapies. The old model of pharma companies deciding what and when to develop new drugs is crumbling.
Four main culprits found for serious childhood diarrhea
Nature, May 14, 2013
Just four pathogens underpin most cases of serious diarrhea in children—the second leading killer of young children worldwide—according to a study published today in The Lancet. Out of nearly 40 diarrhea-causing microbes, the researchers identified four primary culprits: rotavirus, Cryptosporidium, a toxic type of Escherichia coli, and Shigella. The winnowing of the list could allow health experts to design targeted health campaigns
My medical choice
The New York Times, May 14, 2013
My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was. We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
UN: Billions will still lack sanitation by 2015
Voice of America, May 13, 2013
By 2015, almost one-third of the global population will remain without access to improved sanitation—which is UN-speak for hygienic toilet facilities. That would fall well short of a key global Millennium Development Goal, which is detailed in a new report published jointly by the World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund.
Prices cut for cervical cancer vaccines in poor countries
The New York Times, May 9, 2013
The two companies that make vaccines against cervical cancer announced Thursday that they would cut their prices to the world’s poorest countries below $5 per dose, eventually making it possible for millions of girls to be protected against a major cancer killer.