Just like the pink ribbon symbolizes breast cancer awareness and the red dress created by the American Heart Association symbolizes heart health, the denim jeans ribbon is a perfect fit to symbolize the countless illnesses that involve gene defects like Niemann Pick Type C, Cystic Fibrosis, Prader-Willi, and Fragile X.
Numerous Corporations, Non-Profit Foundations, Research Institutions, Hospitals and Advocacy Groups are supporting this new demin campaign for rare disease. Below is the press release announcing the initiative which is just in time for World Rare Disease Day 2010.
DANA POINT, CA – February 1, 2010 – Hope – It’s In Our Genes.™ The Children’s Rare Disease Network (http://www.crdnetwork.org) today announced the Global Genes Project (http://www.globalgenesproject.org), an initiative designed to raise awareness about the prevalence of rare diseases that afflict millions of children worldwide. Rare disease advocates organizing the campaign selected a blue jeans denim ribbon as the international symbol of hope for children suffering from life threatening and chronically debilitating rare diseases.
More than 90 corporations, non-profit foundations, research institutions and children’s hospitals have signed on to support the Global Genes Project including: 23andme, Amicus Therapeutics, Better Health, BioMarin, CheckOrphan, CollabRx, Counsyl, Coriell Institute, DonateGames.org, FasterCures, FreeForm, Genetic Alliance, Geni.com, Genzyme, Hide and Seek Foundation, Jackson Laboratory, Kakkis EveryLife Foundation, Knome, Lili Claire Foundation, Life Technologies, Mayo Clinic and Shire.
Numerous rare disease foundations from countries including Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, New Zealand, Philippines, the United Kingdom and United States are helping support the global movement by organizing activities throughout February and leading up to World Rare Disease Day 2010.
“The Global Genes Project is providing a new platform to help unite people under a common goal and to make a difference for all children suffering from rare disease,” said Nicole Boice, Founder, Global Genes Project. “We want to create a world where children suffering from chronic disease have equal access to life saving drug treatments.”
Growing Public Health Concern; Inequity Exists
Rare disease is an important and growing global public health concern that can no longer be ignored. While each disease may be rare when considered by itself, rare disease collectively impacts the lives of millions. According to estimates from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 6,800 rare diseases exist, many of which are genetic in origin, translating to an affected population of 25-30 million Americans or approximately 1 in 10 people. In Europe, the number affected is almost identical. Approximately 75% of those affected by rare diseases are children, making the rare disease category one of the most deadly and debilitating for children worldwide.
Despite the success of the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, pharmacologic treatments exist for only a small fraction of rare diseases, or approximately 200 of the 6,800 rare diseases. After 25 years of orphan drug regulations and legislation, the development path to approve new drugs has not stimulated orphan drug development for small populations of patients facing rare disease.
Current studies also suggest that it takes more than a dozen years and hundreds of millions of dollars to take a potential drug from discovery to the marketplace. As a result, severe inequity exists in access to care and treatment for millions of rare disease patients.
Denim Blue Jeans Ribbon Campaign
Leading up to the annual World Rare Disease Day on February 28, 2010, the Global Genes Project will help facilitate a series of denim focused awareness events, charitable activities and engage corporate sponsors, government officials, celebrities and the media to help spread its lifesaving message of hope.
“Blue is the color of strength and our blue jeans denim ribbon is an ideal symbol that expresses solidarity,” added Boice. “Genes and jeans are a natural fit – both are universal, come in pairs and are unique to the individual. It’s a simple concept that anyone can embrace and a powerful way to raise awareness for rare disease.”
The Global Genes Project is asking rare disease advocates and supporters across the world to wear denim jeans and blue jeans denim ribbons the week of February 22 and leading up to World Rare Disease Day 2010. The organization is also asking supporters to display the blue jeans denim ribbon symbol on their websites and to actively invite co-workers, friends and family and their community to join in spreading this global message.