Welcome to the New Year! We are looking forward to 2011’s potential for healing, building our organization and expanding knowledge and resources for anal cancer in the general public and medical community.
We are proud of what we have accomplished since our mother, Paulette, died on April 5th, 2010. That is, in no small part, thanks to your time, effort and resources, which have helped to kick-start our organization. Thank you to our friends and family for their support. We would like to especially thank members of the anal cancer community who have opened their hearts and stories to us. We feel grateful to be so readily accepted into the fight against anal cancer. It is heartening to know that we are not alone.
Our first news of the year is that we have changed our name from "The Foundation for HPV and Anal Cancer" to "The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation." It is a small change, but one we hope will make it easier for people to access our resources.
We would like to share with you highlights of the last seven months and to provide a glimpse of what is to come in the near future.
- The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation incorporated in New York State on June 22nd, 2010 and received 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt status from the IRS on September 15th, 2010.
- The Foundation established a Scientific Advisory Board consisting of four leading HPV and anal cancer scientists and clinicians who conduct clinical and/or pre-clinical research at Harvard University, MD Anderson, University of San Francisco and University of Wisconsin.
- The Foundation launched its website, www.analcancerfoundation.org, to provide resources for people facing anal cancer.
- In November 2010, the FDA advisory committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products considered data that show that the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is effective in preventing anal precancer and cancer. Gardasil is already approved by the FDA for the prevention of cervical, vulvar and vaginal pre-cancers and genital warts. At the November meeting, we testified in favor of approving Gardasil to protect against anal cancer in males and females. Six weeks later, on December 22nd, the FDA endorsed the expanded indication for the Gardasil vaccine for the prevention of anal cancer in both genders. This is an extremely important step in ensuring future generations are spared exposure to this disease.
- We attended two important medical research conferences in recent months. In July, the Foundation participated in HPV2010, the International Papillomavirus Society’s annual conference with thousands of doctors and researchers. There we expanded our scientific network and broadened our understanding of the disease. In December, we attended Partnering for Cures, which brought together pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, philanthropists, and disease-specific medical research charities. The conference is facilitated by the Milken Institute and encourages collaboration between the various players in the health care sector to accelerate the discovery and development of medical solutions for diseases.
- We are honored that two women have committed to run to raise money on behalf of the Foundation. Rebecca Eriksen raised thousands of dollars by running the original marathon route in Greece in November 2010 and Nancy Mendelsohn has set a goal of $10,000 for a half marathon she is running on April 3rd, two days before the one-year anniversary of Paulette’s death.
Looking ahead, keep your eyes open for a hearing on February 24th at the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the group of experts who give recommendations on nation-wide vaccine protocols to the Center for Disease Control and Federal Department of Health and Human Services. While the FDA’s December 2010 approval of Gardasil for the prevention of anal cancer in boys and girls means that the government recognizes that the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing anal cancer, it has not given guidance to clinicians on when and how to discuss the vaccine with their patients. While there will not be a vote on recommendations at this meeting, there will be substantial discussion about the vaccine.
We have many plans for 2011, but in our first few months, we will continue to focus on our fundraising campaign and speaking with experts, clinicians and patients to understand the needs of the community. We welcome your thoughts and help with any and all of our projects.