People Battling Illnesses, Injuries Discuss Personal Experiences At BIO 2000

WASHINGTON, DC (March 22, 2000) People benefiting from innovative biotechnology treatments against such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Gaucher disease will discuss their experiences at BIO 2000, March 26-30, in Boston.

The men and women, all from the Boston area, will be available to talk with reporters and editors in the BIO 2000 pressroom from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The pressroom is located in Rooms 108-109 of the Hynes Convention Center, the headquarters of the conference.

BIO 2000 is the annual International Meeting & Exhibitionof the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). More than 7,000 executives, scientists, patient advocates, investment experts and government officials from about 40 nations are expected to attend the five-day conference. More than 700 speakers will participate in 200 symposia and sessions on the latest developments in science, business and public policy. Much of the conference will focus on biotechnology's research and development of innovative treatments for life-threatening diseases and injuries.

On Monday, March 27, Paul Knoll, a middle school assistant principal in South Portland, Maine, will tell how a new cartilage-replacement therapy, Carticel, repaired severe damage to his knee and helped him return to an active lifestyle. Nadine and Todd Taylor, of Marlborough, Mass., will discuss their frustrations and eventual success in having a child with the help of a biotechnology-derived infertility treatment, Gonal-f. The Taylor's son, Connor, was born last September and will accompany them to BIO 2000.

Also on Monday, Sharon Sweeney, of Roslindale, will talkabout her experiences battling multiple sclerosis and how a breakthrough drug, Avonex, improved her life and allowed her to pursue a master's degree at Simmons College.

On Tuesday, March 28, Linda Wilson, of Andover, will discuss her struggle against the disabling joint damage and pain of rheumatoid arthritis. After treatments with the biotech drug, Enbrel, she regained a normal lifestyle for the first time 34 years. Linda Rubenstein, of Carlisle, was diagnosed with debilitating Gaucher’s disease nine years ago and she will describe how she has fought back with the help of the enzyme replacement drug, Cerezyme.

On Wednesday, David Lander, an actor with multiple sclerosis who played Squiggy on the Laverne and Shirely television show, will talk about coping with his illness and how Avonex improved his life. Lander also will speak Thursday, March 30, at lunch, which begins at 11:30 a.m.

A full program of BIO 2000 conference activities is postedon BIO's website ( in the BIO 2000 News Room. Look here for selected highlights, featured speakers, contacts, a schedule of press conferences, pressroom hours and registration instructions. The pressroom will be located in Rooms 108-109 of the Hynes Convention Center. The phone numbers there are (617) 954-3159 and (617) 954-3160.