AHF convenes meetings among health experts from the Latin American Region on specific health topics to develop consensus statements, recommendations and statement papers on various health topics impacting Latin America. The papers are published in renown medical journals and are used to guide health policy and increase education in the Region to ultimately improve the health status of a particular disease.
- Raising Awareness and Increasing Access to Next-Generation Sequencing in Oncology in Brazil
- Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment in Latin America: Current Structure and Future Directions
- Burden of Disease, Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Merkel Cell Carcinoma in Latin America
- The Value of Biomarkers in Optimizing the Use of Immuno-oncologic Therapy
- The Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in Latin America and the Caribbean: Current Landscape and Recommendations
- Increasing Access to Immuno-oncology Therapies in Brazil
- Vaccination Recommendations for Adults with Autoimmune Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases in Latin America
- Brazilian Health-Care Policy for Targeted Oncology Therapies and Companion Diagnostic Testing
- Multiple Sclerosis in Central America and the Caribbean: Treatment and Care Recommendations
- Optimizing Post-Operative Pain Management in Latin America
- Recommendations to Improve Adult Vaccination Coverage in Latin America
- Recommendations to Ensure Safety and Effectiveness of Biosimilars in Latin America: A Point of View
- Recommendations for the Regulation of Biosimilars and their Implementation in Latin America
- A Consensus Statement: Meningococcal Disease Among Infants and Adolescents in Latin America
- Influenza Among the Elderly in the Americas: A Consensus Statement
- Pertussis in Latin America: Epidemiology and Control Strategies
AHF Convenes a Consensus Conference on Liquid Biopsy in Brazil
Therapeutic advance in oncology treatments are due in part to a more complete understanding of its genomic portrait. The serial monitoring of tumor genotypes, which are instable and prone to changes under selective pressure, is becoming increasingly needed. Although tumor biopsies remain the reference standard for the diagnosis and genotyping of many types of cancer, they are invasive and not always feasible. The"liquid biopsies" have the potential to overcome many of these hurdles, allowing a rapid and accurate identification of de nov and resistant genetic alterations and a real-time monitoring of treatment responses. Liquid biopsies, or analyses of tumor-specific genetic alterations int he plasma or serum of patients, are particularly esteemed because they can offer temporal quantifications of the total tumor burden as well as detect acquired drug resistance mutations that arise during the treatment with target agents.
In August of 2018, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) covered a meeting of Brazilian experts on oncology and the screening of genetic mutations, particularly through the use of liquid biopsies, to develop recommendations on the use of liquid biopsies as a standard part of tumor management in Brazil. The resulting paper, "Recommendations on the Use of Liquid Biopsy in Brazil," is under review for publication.
- Dr. Luciano Neder
- Dr. Jose Claudio Casali da Rocha
- Dra. Anamaria Camargo
- Dr. Joao Bosco Oliveira Filho
- Dr. Carlos G. Ferreira
- Dra. Vera Capelozzi
Next generation sequencing (NGS), also known as high-throughput sequencing, describes a DNA sequencing technology that has revolutionized genomic research by allowing an entire human genome to be sequenced within a single day. In contrast, the previous sequencing technology required over a decade to deliver the final draft. NGS can be used to sequence entire genomes or can be constrained to specific areas of interest, including all 22,000 coding genes or small numbers of individual genes. There are numerous opportunities to use NGS in clinical practice to improve patient care, including its ability to captures a broader spectrum of mutations than the previously used Sanger sequencing. In the case of rare diseases or unidentified diseases, NGS could be used to unravel the genetic basis of unexplained syndromes.
In the field of microbiology, NGS of can be used to trace sources of infection outbreaks. In oncology, cancer genomes can now be systemically studied in their entirety, leading to a more precise diagnosis and classification of the disease, more accurate prognosis, and potentially the identification of ‘drug-able’ causal mutations. Individual cancer sequencing may, therefore, provide the basis of personalized cancer management. Despite this advances in NGS and its potential for developing life-saving treatments, it has not yet translated into routine clinical practice and is used primarily for research.
In June of 2018, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) convened a meeting of Brazilian experts on NGS in the country, including medical geneticists, molecular biologists, pathologists, and researchers to develop recommendations for raising awareness and increasing access to NGS in Brazil. The resulting article, “Raising Awareness and Increasing Access to Next-Generation Sequencing in Oncology in Brazil,” is currently under review for publication.
- Dr. Marcos Santos
- Dr. Carlos Gil Ferreira
- Dr. Mariano Gustavo Zalis
- Dra. Renata Coudry
- Dr. Stephen Stefani
- Dr. Luiz Araujo
- Dra. Isabela Werneck
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced, leading to weakness of the skeleton and increased risk of fracture, particularly of the spine, wrist, hip, pelvis and upper arm. Osteoporosis and associated fractures are an important cause of mortality and morbidity and primarily affect postmenopausal women and elderly men. In women over 45, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in the hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, myocardial infarction and breast cancer.Osteoporosis may be asymptomatic until the patient presents with a fracture, and even then it is estimated that only one out of three vertebral fractures come to clinical attention.
In February of 2018, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) convened a meeting of six Latin American experts and two observers to review Osteoporosis in the Region, including rheumatologists and gynecologists, to review public policy and treatment inertia of osteoporosis with the goal of reviewing the issues, obstacles and impediments of osteoporosis identification and treatment in Latin America, and developing policy recommendations for increasing awareness of the disease and elevating osteoporosis as a healthcare priority. The resulting article, “Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment in Latin America: Current Structure and Future Directions,” was accepted for publication in Archives of Osteoporosis.
- Dr. Osvaldo Daniel Messina
- Dra. Patricia Clark
- Dra. Rosa Pereira
- Dr. Ben-Hur Albergaria
- Dra. Monique Chalem
- Dr. Luis Vidal
- Prof. Dr. Yeşim Kirazlı
- Dr. Salwa Alaidarous
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare yet highly aggressive form of skin cancer which, in approximately 80% of cases, is caused by the Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). While the dangers of other skin cancers like malignant melanoma are ingrained in most physicians’ minds, MCC remains an unfamiliar and neglected disease. Although MCC is 40 times rarer than melanoma (an estimated 0.24 cases per 100,000 persons in the U.S.), it kills about one in three patients compared with one in nine for melanoma. Moreover, the annual incidence of MCC is rising more quickly than that of melanoma, at 8% annually, and one-third of patients die within 3 years of diagnosis. Despite these sobering figures, a timely diagnosis followed by excision and radiotherapy can be curative in early disease. As a result, efforts to increase physician education and awareness of MCC, particularly among family physicians, is of the utmost importance for early diagnosis and successful treatment.
In November 2017, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) convened a meeting of six Latin American experts to review MCC in the Region, including oncologists, dermato-oncologists and pathologists, to validate available data on the burden of illness and develop recommendations for increasing the early diagnosis, treatment, quality of life and optimal management of MCC in the Region. The resulting article, “Burden of Disease, Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Merkel Cell Carcinoma in Latin America,” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Global Oncology. Click here to see the full article.
- Dra. Gabriela Cinat
- Dr. Jose Gabriel Casas
- Dr. Luis Daniel Mazzuoccolo
- Dra. Luiza Kassuga
- Dr. Rafael Aron Schmerling
- Dr. Fabio Ernesto Grosso Ospina
Recommendations on the Use of Biomarkers in Immuno-oncology Therapies in Latin America
Biomarkers have many potential applications in oncology, including risk assessment, screening, differential diagnosis, determination of prognosis, prediction of response to treatment, and monitoring of progression of disease. Because of the critical role that biomarkers play at all stages of disease, it is important to develop guidelines that will increase the use of biomarkers in immuno-oncology therapies, while ensuring that they undergo the appropriate evaluations, including analytical validation, clinical validation, and assessment of clinical utility, prior to incorporation into routine clinical care.
In November 2017, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) convened a meeting of six Latin American key opinion leaders in the fields of immuno-oncology, health economics, and regulatory aspects to develop recommendations for increasing the use of biomarkers in immuno-oncology therapies in Latin America. The resulting paper, “The Value of Biomarkers in Optimizing the Use of Immuno-oncologic Therapy,” was accepted for publication in Current Drug Targets.
- Dra. Natasha Leighl
- Dr. Carlos Gil Ferreira
- Vanessa Teich, Brazil
- Dr. Stephan Stefani
- Dra. Mercedes Liliana Dalruzo
- Dr. Andrea Nicolini
AHF Convenes Consensus Conference on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in Latin America and the Caribbean
About 16 million adolescent girls between 15 and 19 give birth each year. In low- and middle-income countries, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19. The Latin American region has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies worldwide. Teenage pregnancies in Latin America are linked to a higher incidence of maternal complications during pregnancy and delivery and children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight and neonatal mortality. One of the WHO’s core recommendations for preventing early pregnancy and adverse reproductive outcomes is increasing the use of reversible contraception.
In August, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) convened a meeting of six Latin American experts to review existing barriers and develop practical recommendations concerning policy fixes for encouraging the increased use of LARCs by Latin American women, particularly adolescents, to stimulate greater knowledge and awareness, and increase both access and use of LARCs in Latin America, thereby reducing the rate of unplanned pregnancies and adverse reproductive outcomes. The resulting article, “The Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in Latin America and the Caribbean: Current Landscape and Recommendations” the paper has been accepted for publication by Human Reproduction Open. The resulting article, "The Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in Latin America and the Caribbean: Current Landscape and Recommendations” was accepted for publication in Human Reproduction Open.Click here to see the full article.
- Dr. Luis Bahamondes
- Dra. Ilza Monteiro
- Dr. Claudio Villarroel
- Dra. Silvia Oizerovich
- Dra. Natalia Frias
- Dra. Norma Velazquez Ramirez
Recommendations For Increasing Access to Immuno-oncology Therapies in Brazil
Immuno-oncology therapies activate the immune system, making it able to recognize cancer cells and destroy them and are expected to become an important part of cancer therapy in years to come. However, the science of immuno-oncology is still evolving. Brazil is a country uniquely primed with both opportunities and strengths for clinical oncology research. Among its strengths, the country counts with growing access to information, an unfortunately high cancer burden, improving patient education, access to new drugs for research centers, regional networks and human resources. In June, AHF convened a meeting of six Brazilian key opinion leaders in the fields of immuno-oncology, health economics, and regulatory aspects to develop recommendations for increasing access to immuno-oncology therapies in Brazil. The resulting article, "Increasing Access to Immuno-oncology Therapies in Brazil," was accepted for publication in the Journal of Cancer Policy. Click here to see the full article.
- Dr. Stephen Stefani
- Dr. Carlos Gil Ferreira
- Dr. Gustavo Fernandes
- Dra. Andreia Melo
- Dr. Carlos Gadelha
- Dr. Denizar Vianna
Recommendations for Adult Vaccination in Patients with AIRD in Latin America
AHF recently convened a consensus conference among expert infectologists and rheumatologists to develop recommendations on vaccination for adults with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases in Latin America.
The resulting article, “Vaccination Recommendations for Adults with Autoimmmune Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases in Latin America,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. Click here for the full article.
- Dr. Claiton Brenol
- Dr. Valerilio Azevedo
- Dra. Paola Coral
- Dr. Pablo Bonvehi
- Dr. Roberto Muñoz Louis
- Dra. Carla Vizzotti
- Dr. Julio Granados
- Dr. Carlos Pineda
AHF Convenes Consensus Conference on Targeted Oncology Therapies and Companion Diagnostic Testing
Companion diagnostics (CDx) are tests being developed to identify patients most likely to benefit from specific treatments based on their own genetic makeup and biology. In the case of oncology, CDx and related pharmacological-based interventions could improve the predictability of the oncology drug development process and become an important tool for oncologists in choosing the optimal treatment for specific patient groups or sub-groups. While regulatory agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency are now actively encouraging the use of CDx and related pharmacological-based interventions in the development and use of prescription drugs, clear and harmonized guidelines have yet to be developed in Brazil, Latin America’s largest markets.
As a result, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) planned, organized and convened a meeting of 6 Brazilian experts on CDx and related pharmacological-based interventions in the area of oncology in Miami, Florida to review existing barriers and develop practical recommendations concerning policy fixes for the use of companion diagnostics and personalized medicines for oncology in Brazil. The goal of this meeting was to stimulate early collaborations that will result in faster access to promising new treatments for patients with serious and life-threatening diseases. The resulting paper, entitled "Brazilian health-care policy for targeted oncology therapies and companion diagnostic testing," was published as a policy review on July 27, 2016 in the Lancet Oncology. Click here for a link to the full article, and click here to see the press release.
- Stephen Doral Stefani
- Patricia Prolla
- Carlos Gil Ferreira
- Maria Isabel Achatz
- Fabricio Marchini
- Maria Dirlei Begnami
AHF Convenes Consensus Conference on MS in Central America and the Caribbean
In July 2015, AHF convened a consensus conference in Panama City to address “Multiple Sclerosis in Central America and the Caribbean: Treatment and Care Recommendations.”
The conference engaged six experts from Central America and the Caribbean to develop practical recommendations on the initiation and optimization of disease-modifying therapies in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis that reflect the unique epidemiology of multiple sclerosis and the clinical practice environment in Central American and Caribbean countries. The resulting paper, Esclerosis múltiple en América Central y el Caribe: Estado actual y recomendaciones clínicas, was published in Revista Mexicana de Neurociencia. Click here for a link to the full article.
- Dr. Fernando Gracia, Panama
- Dra. Irene Treviño Frenk, Mexico
- Dr. Alexander Parajeles, Costa Rica
- Dr. Byron Molina Klee, Guatemala,
- Dr. Avidesh Panday, Trinidad and Tobago
- Dr. Armando Guirado, Dominican Republic
Acute Post-Operative Pain Management in Latin America
Post-operative pain affects millions of patients world-wide. It is well-known that effective pain management with minimal adverse effects will facilitate early mobilization, fluid and food intake and the resumption of normal physical activities, all of which are crucial for optimal rehabilitation after surgery. In contrast, poor post-operative pain management not only delays recovery and results in excess morbidity,
For this project, AHF project planned, organized and implemented a conference of Latin American medical experts on pain management who explored the state of post-operative pain management in Latin America and developed recommendations to optimize pain management in the Region. The article was published online on June 18, 2016 in the Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology. Click here to read the article.
- Dr. João Batista Garcia, Brazil
- Dr. Carlos Pineda, Mexico
- Dr. Fernando Cantu, Mexico
- Dr. Durval Kraychete, Brazil
- Dr. Carlos Guerrero, Colombia
- Dra. Patricia Bonilla, Venezuela
- Dra. Elizabeth Diaz Perez de Valtolina, Peru
Summit Meeting of Latin American Medical Societies on Adult Vaccination
This is a project being carried out by the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) as a component of its "Vaccines For All" platform. For this project, AHF project planned, organized and implemented a summit meeting of Latin American medical societies directly involved in both vaccines and adult care. In particular, the Summit brought together representatives of 15-20 regional and national medical societies primarily focused on pediatrics, infectious disease and immunology. The objective of the Summit was to produce an official consensus on Guidelines for Adult Vaccination in Latin America, collectively developed and endorsed by these major Latin American medical societies. The produced Guidelines can then be used as the basis for future education and awareness campaigns developed for both the public and medical professionals, as well as a tool for guiding health policy pertaining to adult vaccination in the Region. The article, Recommendations for Improving Adult Vaccination in Latin America, was published in the December 2015 edition of the Revista Panamericana de Infectología. To read the complete article, click here.
- Ana Paulina Celi, Ecuador
- Gustavo Lopardo, Argentina
- Martha Cecila Guerrero Almeida, Mexico
- João Bastos Freire Neto, Brazil
- Heli Salgado Velez, Colombia
- Julio Gomez Rincon, Colombia
- Graciela Perez Sartori, Uruguay
- Alfredo Guerreros Benavides, Peru
- Flavia Bravo, Brazil
- Juan Pablo Moralejo, Guatemala
- Susana Lloveras, Argentina
- Carlos Magalhaes, Brazil
- Gabriel Israel Soto-Nieto, Mexico
Meeting of Latin American Experts to Address the Gap Between National Registries on Biologics and National Surveillance Agencies Dealing with Biosimilars
The Americas Health Foundation (AHF) recently planned, organized and convened a meeting of experts from Latin America to address the gaps between National Registries on Biologics and National Surveillance Agencies dealing with biosimilars. The group of experts developed official recommendations concerning how to integrate the data from both organizations. The article, 'Recommendations to ensure safety and effectiveness of biosimilars in Latin America: a point of view' was published online in February 2015 by Clinical Rheumatology and is available through pubmed. Click here to read the full article.
- Dr. Carlos Pineda, Mexico
- Dr. Pedro Lipszyc, Argentina
- Prof. Jose Julian Lopez, Colombia
- Dr. Carlo Caballero-Uribe, Colombia
- Dra. Marcia Gonclaves de Oliveira, Brazil
- Dr. Marcelo Mario Matos Moreira, Brazil
- Dr. Valderilio Azevedo, Brazil
AHF Convenes Latin American Experts On Biosimiliars To Review WHO Implementation Guidelines in Region/Develop Recommendations for Harmonized Regulations
The Americas Health Foundation (AHF) convened a panel of six Latin American experts on biosimilars in December 2013 to review the current use of these biopharmaceutical agents in Latin America. The Workgroup discussed current regulatory pathways and developed recommendations on how best to improve the process and achieve harmonization between countries in the Region. The article, 'Recommendations for the regulation of biosimilars and their implementation in Latin America', was published in the GaBI Journal in June 2014. Click here to read the article.
- Dr. Eduardo Mysler, Argentina
- Dr. Valderiilo Feijo Azevedo, Brazil
- Dr. Francisco Flores-Murrieta, Mexico
- Dr. Alexis Aceituno, Chile
- Dr. Juana Hughes, Uruguay
- Ms. Eva Maria Ruiz de Castilla, Peru
Click on the link to see a news clip, which is also available at the The Americas Health Foundation YouTube page.
AHF Convenes a Panel of Physicians for a Consensus Conference on Meningococcal Disease in Latin America
In April 2013, AHF convened a Consensus Conference in Miami with a panel of expert physicians from Latin America with the goal of developing a consensus statement to address meningococcal disease in Latin America among children. Six physicians made up the panel representing five countries to develop a consensus statement and recommendations on this important health topic. The article, A Consensus Statement: Meningococcal Disease Among Infants and Adolescents in Latin America, was published in the March 2014 edition of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. Click here to read the article.
The panelists included:
- Dr. Ricardo Ruttimann, Argentina
- Dr. Marco Safadi, Brazil
- Dra. Mercedes Macias, Mexico
- Dr. Xavier Saez-Llorens, Panama
- Dra. Angela Gentile, Argentina
- Dra. Maria Elena Santolaya, Chile
AHF Conducts Consensus Conference on Influenza Among the Elderly in Latin America
Following a consensus conference co-hosted by AHF and Fighting Infectious Diseases in Emerging Countries (FIDEC), a Special Report entitled Influenza among the elderly in the Americas: a consensus statement, was published in the October 2013 issue of the Pan American Journal of Public Health. It calls for better influenza surveillance and continued vaccination of people aged 65 and over in Latin America, to reduce the disproportionate number of influenza-related deaths and illnesses in this fast-growing age group. Click here to read the full article.
- Ricardo W. Ruttiman, MD, Fighting Infectious Diseases in Emerging Countries (FIDEC)
- Pablo E. Bonvehi, MD, Instituto Universitario Cemic, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Diana V. Compte, MD, Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia, Mexico City, Mexico
- Raul E. Isturiz, MD, Centro Medico De Caracas & Centro Medico Trinidad, Caracas, Venezuela
- Jaime A. Labarca, MD, Pontificia Universidad Catolica De Chile, Santiago, Chile
- Edison I Vidal, MD, Universidade Estadual Paulista-UNESP, San Paulo, Brazil
AHF joined with the Latin America Society of Pediatric Infectious Disease (SLIPE) to convene a meeting among six Latin American experts to review the status of pertussis in Latin America and recommend control strategies in the Region. The article developed from the meeting, 'Pertussis in Latin America: epidemiology and control strategies', was published online at infohealthcare.com in 2014. Click here to read the full article.
- Dra. Luiza Helena Falleiros Arlant, Brazil
- Dr. Agustin de Colsa, Argentina
- Dr. Dario Flores, Argentina
- Dr. Jose Brea, Dominican Republic
- Dra. Maria Luisa Avila Aguero, Costa Rica
- Dra. Daniela Flavia Hozbar, Argentina