Friday, April 2, 2010

World Autism Awareness Day (April 2)

On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, supported the campaign for a World Autism Awareness Day through the current 62nd UN General Assembly Session, garnering consensus support from all United Nations Member States.

This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.

World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.

By bringing together autism organizations all around the world, we will give a voice to the millions of individuals worldwide who are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help. Please join us in our effort to inspire compassion, inclusion and hope.

U.N. notes that World Autism Awareness Day is meant "to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives."

A lifelong disability, autism includes a group of brain development disorders that typically develop during an individual's first three years of life. It is well-documented to occur worldwide, according to Autism Speaks.

A number of events are being held internationally to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day 2010. Many events are being held today, and others are being held throughout April (and a few have already passed). A list of Autism Awareness Day events can be found here.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released the following statement for World Autism Awareness Day 2010:
"Let us join persons with autism, their families and their advocates in a community of voices for greater awareness and understanding. Let us also look within, and re-evaluate our attitudes and those of our societies so we can remove the prejudices that discriminate against persons with disabilities. Let us dedicate ourselves to creating a fair and caring society that affords true dignity and rights for all."

Important Link to read more:

Melior enters drug discovery collaboration with Rett Syndrome Research Trust

March 30, 2010, Exton, PA - Melior Discovery, Inc. announced today that it has entered into collaboration with the Rett Syndrome Research Trust to screen drug-candidates in an in vivo model of Rett Syndrome.

Melior Discovery has developed world-class expertise in screening compounds for potential therapeutic activity in animal models. Melior will apply this expertise to the evaluation of large numbers of drug-candidates in a specialized model of Rett Syndrome. "This partnership is further illustration of Melior's truly unique capabilities and competence in high throughput in vivo pharmacology," said Andrew Reaume PhD, CEO, Melior Discovery.

Rett Syndrome, the most physically disabling of the autism spectrum disorders, strikes young girls almost exclusively, with first symptoms usually appearing before the age of 18 months. These children lose speech, motor control and functional hand use, and many suffer from seizures, orthopedic and severe digestive problems, breathing and other autonomic impairments. Most live into adulthood, and require total, around-the-clock care.

The disorder is caused by alterations of an X-linked gene, MECP2. The animal models that have been developed mimic the disorder well and provide an excellent system to test potential drug candidates.

"We are pleased to be working with Melior and have been impressed with their ability to rapidly and effectively evaluate compounds in animal models. We look forward to our collaboration as we strive to identify compounds to ameliorate the devastating symptoms of Rett," added Monica Coenraads, Executive Director of the Rett Syndrome Research Trust.

About Melior Discovery, Inc.

Melior Discovery is leading the transformation of pharmaceutical drug repositioning with its unique theraTRACE® platform of multiplexed in vivo models. Melior is using this capability to build an internal pipeline of development candidates. Melior Discovery also partners with pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies to expand their drug development pipelines by using the theraTRACE® platform, and individual animal models, in conjunction with the Company's in-depth in vivo pharmacology expertise.

Melior Discovery is located in Exton, PA. The Company is privately held with investors that include Cammeby's Capital Group, VenturEast, Osage Ventures, Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, and BioAdvance.

About the Rett Syndrome Research Trust

The Rett Syndrome Research Trust is a nonprofit research organization formed in the wake of the dramatic pre-clinical reversal of Rett Syndrome symptoms. The Trust is intensively focused on the development of treatments and cures for Rett Syndrome and related MECP2 disorders. To learn more about the Trust please visit