Cincinnati Children's Opens Jeffrey Modell Foundation Diagnostic Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies

Friday, October 02, 2009

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center today dedicates the opening of a Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) Diagnostic Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies, one of only 55 of its kind in the world and only 31 in the United States.

The Center will be dedicated during a ceremony at noon today at the Cincinnati Children's main campus in Avondale. The Diagnostic Center focuses on the diagnosis, care, and treatment of children suffering with Primary Immunodeficiency (PI). Primary Immunodeficiency is a term that encompasses more than 150 diseases caused by an immune system that does not function properly. The Center is sponsored in part by Baxter International Inc., a leading provider of therapies that develops, manufactures and markets treatments for PI.

The goal of the new Center is to raise awareness of PI and ensure that children in the Cincinnati area and beyond have access to the highest levels of treatment. The Center will be led by Lisa Filipovich, MD, a renowned expert in the field of Primary Immunodeficiency research and care. Dr. Filipovich is director of the Immune Deficiency and Histiocytosis Program at Cincinnati Children's and medical director of the Hematology / Oncology Diagnostic Laboratory.

"We are truly grateful for Baxters support that allows us to continue our research into the genetic causes of Primary Immunodeficiency diseases and promotion of the importance of early diagnosis and treatment," said Arnold Strauss, MD, director of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation and the medical center's chief medical officer. The educational and diagnostic programs made possible through this support will be vital to furthering Cincinnati Children's reputation as a center of excellence for diagnosis and treatment of patients with PI.

PI can often present in the form of recurring common illnesses, such as sinus infections, pneumonia, ear infections and bronchitis. For this reason, families and doctors are often unaware that the troubling conditions that they are dealing with are actually rooted in a defect in the immune system and treat the symptoms rather than addressing the underlying cause. Failure to diagnose and treat PI can lead to serious chronic illness, permanent organ damage or even death.

In attendance at the ceremonies will be the Centers benefactors, Vicki and Fred Modell, co-founders of the Jeffrey Modell Foundation. The Foundation is named for the Modell's son, who passed away in 1986 from complications of Primary Immunodeficiency at the age of 15.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Cincinnati Children's", said Fred Modell, co-founder of the JMF. "Experts have estimated that as many as 500,000 cases of PI remain undiagnosed in the United States, and our goal is to give every child a chance to lead a healthy, normal life."

"There is a large undiagnosed population of children and young adults suffering with these diseases, keeping them from enjoying a full life", said Vicki Modell, co-founder of the JMF. "Their illness interrupts their activities, detours their plans and curtails their dreams."

Baxter and the Jeffrey Modell Foundation are long-standing partners in the effort to raise awareness and increase diagnosis of PI on a global scale. In addition to establishing diagnostic centers around the world, Baxter and JMF have collaborated to raise PI awareness in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

Baxter is proud to partner with the Jeffrey Modell Foundation and Cincinnati Children's to help provide treatment and raise awareness for Primary Immunodeficiency, said Larry Guiheen, president of Biopharmaceuticals for Baxters BioScience business. This Center will help improve the lives of so many young patients living with PI.

About Jeffrey Modell Foundation

The Jeffrey Modell Foundation was established in 1987 by Vicki and Fred Modell in memory of their son Jeffrey, who died at the age of 15 from complications of Primary Immunodeficiency. The Foundation is dedicated to early and precise diagnosis, meaningful treatments and ultimately cures of Primary Immunodeficiencies. More information on PI can be found at www.info4pi.orgor by calling the JMF hotline at 1-866-INFO-4-PI.

About Cincinnati Childrens

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of 10 children's hospitals in the United States to make the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Reports 2009-10 Americas Best Childrens Hospitals issue. It is #1 ranked for digestive disorders and is also highly ranked for its expertise in respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care, neurosurgery, diabetes, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. One of the three largest children's hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children's is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

President Barack Obama in June 2009 cited Cincinnati Children's as an island of excellence in health care. For its achievements in transforming health care, Cincinnati Children's is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases. Additional information can be found at

About Baxter International Inc.

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide.

Contact Information

Nick Miller, 513-803-6035,