National Guideline Clearinghouse Triples Number of Guidelines
Since its launch one year ago, the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) has more than tripled in size and now offers online access to almost 700 evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, related summaries and other materials. The NGC is located on the Internet at http://www.guideline.gov. Developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research), in partnership with the American Medical Association and the American Association of Health Plans, the NGC is a resource that enables health care professionals to compare clinical recommendations more easily. Updated continually, the NGC contains guidelines submitted by 125 health care organizations, associations, medical societies and government agencies. The NGC provides information through search options, along with the ability to browse by disease, by treatment/intervention or by the name of the submitting organization. In addition, the NGC database has a feature that allows the user to create tabular comparisons of guideline summaries. The NGC also contains syntheses of guidelines covering similar topics, noting areas of agreement and disagreement. For further information on the NGC, including information on submitting guidelines, contact Jean Slutsky, NGC project officer, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, at 301-594-4042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASHA Launches Human Papillomavirus Hotline
The American Social Health Association (ASHA) has launched a human papillomavirus (HPV) hotline in their National HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention Resource Center. The toll-free hotline (877-HPV-5868) is available Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EST). Information, counseling and referrals are provided. The center will also provide free information about risk reduction, diagnosis and treatment of HPV and the prevention of cervical cancer. More information on sexually transmitted diseases can be obtained on the ASHA's Web site at http://www.ashastd.org.
NIAID Releases Report on the Development of Vaccines
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has released its latest report on the state of vaccine research and development. “The Jordan Report 2000: Accelerated Development of Vaccines” highlights the triumphs of vaccinology during the 20th century and the ways in which new technologies promise better vaccines against old and new disease-causing organisms. Twenty-four scientists from the NIAID prepared the report, with additional contributions from outside researchers. The report offers a comprehensive overview of vaccine development against nearly 60 diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Of these, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, malaria and tuberculosis have received high-priority status among government officials in the United States and abroad. “There is no more important goal of medical research than to prevent diseases from occurring in the first place,” states Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID. “Our commitment to developing new and better vaccines to prevent the world's most serious infectious diseases has never been stronger, and ‘The Jordan Report’ is a valuable resource for bringing scientists and policy makers up-to-date on this important endeavor.” The report is available on the NIAID Web site (http://www.niaid.nih.gov) or by writing to Jordan Report/NIAID OCPL; Bldg. 31, Rm. 7A50; 31 Center Dr., MSC 2520; Bethesda, MD 20892-2520.
New Initiatives to Protect Participants in Gene Therapy Trials
As part of ongoing efforts to ensure patient protection in gene therapy trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced two new initiatives to further strengthen the safeguards for individuals enrolled in clinical studies for gene therapy. These two new initiatives—the Gene Therapy Clinical Trial Monitoring Plan and the Gene Transfer Safety Symposia—compliment and enhance current patient protections, according to the FDA. The FDA will require that sponsors of gene therapy trials routinely submit their monitoring plans to the FDA. In the second initiative, a series of Gene Transfer Safety Symposia, the NIH and FDA will enhance patient safety by providing critical forums for the sharing and analysis of medical and scientific data from gene transfer research. These initiatives are part of the Administration's efforts to ensure the safety of patients enrolled in gene therapy clinical trials. The NIH is also completing the development of an interactive Web-based database to provide public access to data on gene transfer research, which should be online by October 2000.
American Urological Association Supports Medicare Osteoporosis Act
The American Urological Association (AUA) has issued a statement strongly supporting the Medicare Osteoporosis Measurement Act. The legislation, which will expand Medicare coverage for individuals at risk of osteoporosis, including men with advanced prostate cancer undergoing hormonal suppression therapy, was introduced in March by Reps. Connie Morella (R-Md.) and Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.). According to H. Logan Holtgrewe, M.D., chair of the AUA Health Policy Council and a past president of the association, the proposed legislation will be cost effective because Medicare will realize significant savings by reducing hospital stays associated with fractures caused by osteoporosis. “Of course, the greatest benefit will be the advanced quality of life for prostate cancer patients whose osteoporosis is diagnosed early and who receive treatment to stave off this devastating affliction,” Dr. Holtgrewe concluded.