Twitter is now specifically focusing on increasing black, Latinx and female representation


Twitter met or surpassed many of the diversity and inclusion goals it set for itself for 2017, the company announced today. Twitter is now 38.4 percent female, compared to 37 percent in 2016. Regarding underrepresented minorities at Twitter, representation increased from 11 percent in 2016 to 12.5 percent in 2017.

While Twitter increased the overall representation of women and underrepresented minorities, it missed its goals for overall representation of underrepresented minorities, as well as underrepresented minorities in technical roles. At the leadership level, Twitter went from 30 percent female in 2016 to 32.5 percent female in 2017, and underrepresented minorities now account for 10.1 percent of employees at the leadership level, compared to just 6 percent in 2016.

Moving forward, Twitter intends to set two-year goals but will continue its practice of releasing yearly diversity reports. The rationale for the two-year period, Twitter VP of Intersectionality, Culture and Diversity Candi Castleberry Singleton explained in a blog post, is to better enable Twitter to assess its progress, “develop specific programming, and adapt our strategies along the way.”

Twitter is also now specifically looking at increasing the representation of women, black and Latinx people — groups that continue to be underrepresented in tech. Twitter is 3.4 percent black, 3.4 percent Latinx and 38.4 percent female. By 2019, Twitter wants to be 43 percent female, 5 percent black and 5 percent Latinx.

“We’re focused on powering positive change by fostering respectful conversations, creating deeper human connections, and encouraging diverse interactions across the company,” Singleton wrote in a blog post. “We’re calling this strategy Intersectionality, Culture and Diversity (ICD) and we’re making it a part of everything we do at Twitter.”

Continue onto TechCrunch to read the complete article.

Kern County native creates app meant to protect farmworkers from heat-related illness

teen engineer

Farmworker’s days are long, their work is tedious and sometimes weather conditions turn the job into a dangerous one. 

“I heard their stories of swollen backs and how their feet would ache after work and just the kind of brutal conditions they worked in, especially back then”, said Faith Florez.

Florez grew up in Shafter, a small farming community in Kern County in a family that is all too familiar with working in the fields and the risks of the job.

“My grandma Estella, she picked roses, cotton, almonds, and then my poppa, her son went on to again pick roses cotton almonds and migrate between seasons between the fields,” she said.

So, the high school senior, who now lives in Los Angeles set out to make a change at farms throughout the central valley.

“I don’t want to hear about a farmworker that died because they were too far away from water and shade,” said Florez.

Flores created the Calor App, which will let farmers now when they could possibly be in danger.

“The application is ultimately designed to prevent instances of heat stroke amongst agricultural workers,” said Florez.

Calor, the Spanish word for heat, began with a simple idea for Florez.

“It definitely wasn’t an overnight thing,” she said.

Her idea, became more of a reality when she submitted it as a proposal to the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, where a group of graduate students unanimously hose to take on the project.

“I went into it super passionate,” Florez said.

Continue onto ABC News to read the complete article.

California hiring underrepresented groups in renewable energy industry

Clean Energy Jobs-

By Carol Zabin and Robert Collier

As California policymakers speed up the state’s switch to renewable energy, a key question is this: Do the much-touted new green jobs actually go to a diverse cross-section of the state’s workforce, or are disadvantaged communities left out?

According to data obtained and analyzed by researchers at University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center, the answer is that in recent years, a significant share of strong, career-track jobs in the construction of renewable energy power plants statewide have, in fact, gone to low-income residents and people of color.

Our recently issued report shows that the joint union-employer apprenticeship programs used in these projects have played an important role in diversifying California’s clean energy workforce.

In Kern County, local data shows that 43 percent of entry-level electrical workers on solar power plant construction lived in communities designated as disadvantaged by the California Environmental Protection Agency, while 47 percent lived in communities with unemployment rates of at least 13 percent.

Kern County electrical apprentice pay schedules show a clear progression toward the middle class. Current first-year apprentices start at $16.49 per hour plus full benefits and receive wage increases as they move through their five-year training program. Graduates become journey electricians earning more than $40 per hour.

Statewide, the picture is similar. Among the 16 union locals of electricians, ironworkers, and operating engineers that have built most of California’s renewable energy power plants, about 60 percent of new apprentices were people of color.

Diversity varied by trade. Latinos, who make up one-third of the state’s labor force, represented 53 percent of new apprentice ironworkers, 34 percent of electrical workers, and 23 percent of operating engineers. While African-Americans are 6 percent of the statewide labor force, they made up 4 percent of new apprentice electricians, 6 percent of ironworkers, and 9 percent of operating engineers.

The presence of military veterans in these programs also was higher than in California’s workforce as a whole. While veterans are only 4 percent of statewide workers, they comprised 9 percent of new electrical apprentices, 6 percent of ironworkers, and 12 percent of operating engineers.

The weak point in these apprenticeship programs, as with the rest of California’s construction industry, was the participation of women, ranging from only 2 percent to 6 percent among the three trades.

All told, the track record shows that California has made progress toward broadening access for disadvantaged workers to good jobs in the clean energy economy. But this diversity has not been automatic. A key driver of progress is the fact that most renewable energy plants were built under project labor agreements, which ensure union wage and benefit standards and free training for low-skilled workers through state-certified apprenticeships. Recruitment efforts by unions and the projects’ locations were also important since many renewable power plants are in counties such as Kern that have high unemployment and concentrations of low-income communities.

Looking forward, job access in the clean energy industry can be advanced by adopting specific programs such as publicly funded pre-apprenticeship training and local-hire provisions, in combination with project labor agreements.

Additional progress is likely if state lawmakers approve SB 100, which would commit California electricity providers to obtain 100 percent of their power from clean energy sources by 2045. This would drive further growth of renewable energy construction, which in turn would create more jobs and more openings in state-certified apprenticeship programs. The net result would be an important step forward along California’s path to meeting its climate challenge while simultaneously broadening access to middle-class jobs.

About the Authors
Carol Zabin and Robert Collier are director and policy specialist, respectively, of the Green Economy Program at the Center for Labor Research and Education at UC Berkeley.



This Scientist Made a Major Discovery By ‘Playing’ With Bugs

Stephen Baca

By Catalina Gonella

While hiking the hills of Kenya and coming across “amazing spiders” and other creatures, Stephen Baca rediscovered his childhood love for bugs. Sitting around a campfire later one night, he decided to concentrate his studies on just that.

Baca would go on to pursue entomology, the branch of zoology that is concerned with insects, and then earn a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. It was a choice well made, because in the past few years, the 31-year-old has become a world authority on the evolutionary history of a family of burrowing water beetles known as Noteridae. While conducting his research, he also has helped to clear a path for underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields.

“When I was younger, I didn’t realize you could do this for a living,” Baca told NBC Latino.


Turning an obsession with crawling things into a career

As a kid growing up a part of a proud Hispanic-American family in New Mexico, Baca had always been interested in anything that crawled. He would even host lizard catching competitions with his cousins as a kid. “I suppose I was always the one who wanted to learn more about them,” Baca recalled.

When he was in middle school, one of his teachers happened to be an entomologist who would bring his bug collections to class. Fascinated, Baca began collecting insects himself.

“In middle school, I was this weird guy. I like to think endearingly weird guy, but I don’t know for sure,” Baca said, laughing. “I used to carry around a jar and forceps in my backpack, in case I saw anything cool.”

High school, on the other hand, was boring for Baca, and he eventually lost track of his passion for insects.

When he got to college, he decided to major in business, figuring he would set himself up for a “decent career.” He ended up leaving school after only one year.

“I just didn’t have the patience for school at all,” he said.

After that year, Baca worked several jobs, from delivering pizza to waiting tables and bartending. After spending a summer working on a ranch in Montana, he decided he would go back to school. This time, he stuck with it.

Baca started out at a local community college and eventually transferred to the University of New Mexico where he earned his bachelor’s degree in biology.

It was around this time that he traveled to Kenya and experienced his career-altering epiphany. The things that crawled, such as the marching army ants, were what excited him. “I was just like, man this stuff is amazing, I used to love this as a kid!”

When he got back, he connected with a professor who allowed him to volunteer at his lab conducting research on aquatic beetles. After six months, Baca visited Peru to conduct fieldwork, and that’s when he got hooked. “It kind of snowballed from there,” he said.

Now, Baca is living out his childhood dream. Having earned his Nicaragua_w_caimanmaster’s in entomology, he is now working toward his doctorate in the same field at the University of Kansas. Or as he puts it, “getting to play with bugs all the time.”

Overturning a water beetle world

Recently, Baca was the lead author of a study that delineated the evolutionary history of Noteridae. His work was published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Working with co-authors Emmanuel Toussaint and Andrew Short of University of Kansas and Kelly Miller of University of New Mexico, Baca was able to determine the relationships of 53 species of Noteridae. His study completely overhauled the classification within the family of aquatic beetles.

“It’s important to note that papers like this, that especially when they result in large changes in the classification, have a lot of downstream impact,” Floyd Shockley, an entomologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told NBC Latino. “Especially on the large community of amateur collectors that just enjoy collecting beetles,” he said. The impact on museums, and other places that house insect collections will also be major, according to Shockley.

While conducting the study, Baca and his team discovered faults in a computational method for partitioning genetic data—the “k-means” method. The researchers sent their results to the developer of the computational method, who decided the model should be discontinued.

The method was just gaining traction, but the discovery by Baca will prevent other biologists from getting inaccurate results by using it. “The developer had already realized there were issues with it,” Baca said. “We were kind of the last nail in the coffin.”

Passing on the STEM “bug”

Baca is also passionate about the work he does as the president of University of Kansas’ chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

He became involved in the group back when he was an undergraduate at University of New Mexico through one of the school’s biology professors, Maggie Werner-Washburne. When Baca asked her for a recommendation letter to help him get into grad school and the National Science Foundation, “she agreed, but only on the condition that I go to a SACNAS meeting.”

Though he didn’t really know what SACNAS was at the time, he agreed to attend. “I loved it because the whole time, they were just kind of talking about the things that I felt were sort of lacking in my life before,” Baca said.

In high school, no one had asked him what he liked or was interested in. “I didn’t know that I could make a career out of this stuff,” said Baca. “And that’s kind of the fun thing about sitting here now, is that I had no idea this was ever possible.”

“And that’s kind of one the reasons that I like to get into some of these outreach groups,” Baca explained.

He was nominated to become the president of University of Kansas chapter shortly after deciding with a group of students that he should lead because he was the oldest of the group. “We’ve been pretty ambitious about it,” said Baca. They just celebrated their one-year anniversary and recently became recognized as an official chapter. Baca’s goal is to continue to do more outreach work, to undergraduates and especially to high school students.

“One of the things I’ve learned more than anything in doing this,” said Baca, “is that putting yourself in a position where you can talk to people or sharing your story and giving them a little bit of advice, letting them know that there are resources out there for them, and people advocating for them, is where the most profound effect comes from.”

Sources: NBC News, NBC Latino. View original article at:

Move Toward Environmental Sustainability with These 10 Inventions


The concept of environmental sustainability isn’t new. With the risk of sounding like a broken record, sustainability is simply using resources available to our benefit while making sure there will still be enough for the future generations. Being truly sustainable means ensuring development, while also maintaining biological diversity and preserving the balance of the ecosystem by moving toward using renewable sources of energy in all walks of life.

Why bother?
Many believe that human activities have had no role in making climate change a reality. Whichever side of the debate you’re on, climate change is happening, and sitting back while the world burns down is not an option.

The extreme weather brought on by ongoing climate change also wreaks havoc on the world’s natural land resources, making some areas too wet and other areas too dry. And of course, air pollution continues to chip away at the quality of air we breathe, which will result in several health problems. When all these issues become a reality we can no longer avoid, social decline will begin.

Fret not, for there are a few people who have tried creating alternative/green products. These 10 inventions will help you lead an environmentally stable life:

  1. Plastic from banana peels
    As a society, we can try eliminating unnecessary plastics from our day-to-day lives. To help with this process, 16-year-old Elif Beligin from Istanbul developed a chemical process that would help turn banana peels into a resistant bioplastic. His choice of material came after he realized the fruit is naturally wrapped in a wrapper, that provides all the protection it needs, characterized by its flexibility and strength.
  2. Lamps to grow plants in windowless spaces
    Nui Design Studio created the Lamp Mygdal, which acts as a home to a completely autonomous ecosystem that allows plants to even survive in windowless interiors. Translated into English, Mygdal means “fertile soil.” They come in both pendant lamp and standing lamp forms, which are aesthetically pleasing.
  3. Transparent solar panels
    Solar power systems help derive clean energy from the sun, and installing them in your homes will help combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduce your carbon footprint.

The first breakthrough happened in 2014 when researchers at the Michigan State University created a fully transparent solar concentrator that could turn any window or sheet of glass, much like your smartphone’s screen into a photovoltaic solar cell. Solar panels generate energy by converting absorbed photons into electrons. For a material to be fully transparent, light would have to travel uninhibited to the eye, which means those photons would have to pass through the material completely (without being absorbed to generate solar power). To create this panel, the team created something called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC), which employs organic salts to absorb wavelengths of light that are already invisible to the human eye. Richard Lunt, who led the research at the time, went on and confounded an MIT startup called Ubiquitous Energy, which went on to bring its transparent solar panels to the market.

  1. Edible water
    Skipping Rocks Lab, a Climate KIC start-up program founded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), came up with a solution to the world’s growing plastic problem. They created Ooho, a thin, translucent seaweed sleeve that can hold liquid. It’s edible and completely biodegradable. This little ball is durable enough to not tear unless you want to break into it. The spherical flexible packaging can also be used for other liquids including water, soft drinks, spirits, and cosmetics. Their product is even cheaper than plastic.
  2. The water-saving showerhead
    On an average, a typical 8-minute shower uses around 20 gallons of water. To combat this problem, a U.S.-based company designed the Nebia shower.

Nebia used the same tools and techniques used for building rocket engines and medical equipment to create a new nozzle technology that atomizes water into a million tiny droplets. As a result, this shower head covers 10 times more surface area than a regular shower, which helps reduce water usage by 70 percent. It is a self-installable system that can be adjusted in terms of height and angle of water stream, according to your needs.

  1. Portable wind turbine
    Wind energy is yet another alternative to non-renewable forms of energy. It is a clean fuel source that has the potential to reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent. It is cost-effective and available in abundance. However, one disadvantage is that wind energy requires a large amount of land. Unless you own a farm or a ranch, shifting to wind energy can prove to be difficult. An innovation company called Janulus aims to change that with Trinity, a portable wind turbine that’s available in four different-sized models to accommodate a variety of your power needs. The turbine uses lithium-ion batteries similar to the ones used in electric cars. It is usable in winds as low as 2 mph, and when fully charged, it is capable of charging your iPhone 16 times. The product comes with an app that will turn the device on and off, provide stats on how much power you’re generating and recommendations on its setup, which you can customize based on wind conditions.
  2. Sprout pencil
    To limit the waste that accompanies worn-out writing utensils, three MIT students created Sprout Pencil, a multifunctional alternative, which is composed of cedar, with a biodegradable capsule of seeds and peat in place of an eraser. Once the pencil gets too small to write with, you can place it in some soil and watch it give birth to new life. The pencils come in 14 varieties, and a pack of eight is $19.95, but the company hopes to lower the price so that every student can afford to use these pencils.
  3. Power-generating tiles
    Many companies have been working toward developing a technology that will help tap into the energy expended by pedestrians.

The solution came to 31-year-old Laurence Kemball-Cook back in 2009 when he studied industrial design and technology at the University of Loughborough. Under the banner of his company, Pavegen, he created floor tiles that help convert kinetic energy from footsteps into electricity that can be stored or used in low-power applications, such as lighting, signage, and digital displays.

  1. The feedback band
    To help you calculate your carbon footprint, Layer, a design studio based in London, collaborated with Carbon Trust, an environmental nonprofit that specializes in low-carbon initiatives to create the Worldbeing wristband.

The band works with a smartphone app to help its users monitor their carbon footprint by measuring minute details right from what you had for breakfast, how far you drove the car, and even what you bought in a store. The app gives daily challenges with the incentive of winning a reward or more from low-carbon businesses and helps you reduce your eco-impact. It even shows you how you’re saving planet Earth.

  1. The plastic recycling machine
    Even though most of us know the consequences of using plastic, it is difficult to avoid using it. Unless you start making your own make-up and beauty products and growing your own vegetables, you will notice that plastic is almost everywhere.

To help us deal with this, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, who designed Phonebloks, came up with Precious Plastic, a series of automated machines that turn plastic into household items. The product is aimed at reducing waste and making plastic recycling more accessible. The machine melts the waste collected and molds them into usable items. He open-sourced the design so that anyone could easily download it.


Nike Partners With Hispanic Artists for “Los Primeros” Pack During Latino Heritage Month


Nike has big plans for celebrating Latino Heritage Month this year. For more than a decade, Nike has celebrated cultural moments with limited footwear projects that include Black History Month, Chinese New Year, West Indies Day, and Puerto Rico Day to name a few.

This year, Nike is collaborating with four Latino artists on four very special editions of iconic sneakers for the “Los Primeros” Pack, including the Air Force 1 Low, Air Max 1, Cortez, and Air Jordan 1.

The collection features artists from Latino backgrounds from Chile to Los Angeles. National Hispanic Heritage Month runs every year from September 15 – October 15 celebrating the history and contributions by Hispanic and Latino Americans.

View the four sneakers and more about the artists at

Waleteros Is Introducing A New Mobile App, A Virtual Prepaid Card, And Ultra-Modern Customer Service Allowing For A Personalized Connection To Latin America Relatives


The new Waleteros app is now available, allowing users to have access to financial services wherever they are. Unlike other applications on the market, Waleteros simplifies all tasks starting with the registration process. Getting a prepaid card has never been so easy! Simply take a picture of your country’s ID and snap a selfie. In a few minutes and for no fee, a ready-to-use virtual prepaid Visa card will be available right from your phone (while one waits for the physical Visa card to arrive within 10 days).

Being a Waletero user means you can use Direct Deposit to receive your salary, cash checks in minutes, deposit cash, buy online, pay bills, transfer money, and, of course, buy anywhere in the world where Visa debit cards are accepted. Etienne Gillard, a multi-cultural senior entrepreneur who graduated from Stanford, decided to found Waleteros to serve customers in a convenient, inexpensive and safe way for all of the millions of Latinos in the U.S. as well as their relatives in Latin America.

Waleteros offers a plan with no monthly maintenance fees that brings along some “wow features”, such as no foreign transaction fees (other cards tend to charge up to 3% of the transaction) or the possibility of switching your card from “ON” to “OFF” with a simple click. Waleteros offers a personalized customer service accessible in several ways (chat, text, call, email, Facebook, as well as other platforms). “As a client, I know how frustrating it is when a company does not solve my concerns or complaints,” explains Paula E. Vasco, in charge of User Experience at Waleteros.

According to a report published in 2016 by the FDIC, 67 million adults in the U.S. do not have a bank account or are underserved by banking institutions. Waleteros calculates that around 30% of those are Hispanics. Consequently, on a daily basis, they depend on alternative financial services to traditional banking. Unfortunately, these options tend to be very costly, time-consuming and unsafe carrying cash around. “The entire team at Waleteros is committed to the very same mission: to be the “M-Pesa” of the Americas by improving the quality of life of millions of people. They deserve the best financial services; they deserve to be treated with transparency and honesty”, said Gillard, founder of Waleteros.

The comparison to M-Pesa is not meaningless; it is the most successful mobile wallet in the world. In less than 10 years, M-Pesa has changed the life of millions of people in Kenya (Africa). Every day, more than 22 million people are using the services provided by M-Pesa. Since launching in the Google Play Store (iOS version coming soon), more than 10,000 people have already installed the Waleteros app on their phone. As proof of satisfaction, Waleteros’ first users have already invited over 3,500 friends and families to join the Waleteros family!

If you need more information about a better financial solution, please visit


How to send money

The cheapest, fastest, and safest way to send money is by paying your family’s electricity, water, gas, television, or telephone bills online using a card that does not charge any foreign transaction fees.

How to withdraw cash

For small amounts, the most efficient way to withdraw cash is by using “cash-back” service offered by many stores when completing a purchase.

How to collect your salary

To receive your salary at no cost to you and up to 2 days earlier, the best way is to ask your employer to pay you via Direct Deposit.


Waleteros is designed by Latinos for Latinos to address the financial needs of Hispanic communities underserved by traditional banks in the United States and Latin America. Thanks to technical advances, Waleteros can offer a lower cost easy to use service which will allow its users to quickly and securely get their pay, pay for goods and services, pay bills and send money.

These Latino Artists and Entrepreneurs Are Transforming Fresno, California


An underdog city in Central California has been slowly transforming its image, and its love for the arts has been a big part of its makeover.

Often ridiculed for its bad air, high unemployment and scorching summers, Fresno has been cultivating an artistic vibe that has drawn and encouraged new and interesting businesses.

Behind these changes are many Latino artists and entrepreneurs. They’re making an impact in downtown Fresno, an area that’s seen a flurry of activity since 2013, when the city made its big push to revitalize it.

“There’s always been a need for Fresno to have its own thing. You have to really work at it,” said Fresno’s new poet laureate Bryan Medina, a gentle man with long twisted locks who is the founder of the Inner Ear Poetry Jam.

“There was always the artists; the art was first. Now, the city has come around. It’s revitalizing downtown, it’s giving people something to do here,” said Medina, who is of Haitian and Mexican descent.

Medina describes the transformation of the city’s downtown as trying to create the best torta, which takes time and the right ingredients.

Come September, its $22 million project will bear fruit when Fulton Street, a pedestrian mall, opens up to vehicle traffic. A string of restaurants and three Latino-owned local breweries will follow along with the expansion of existing restaurants and the opening of another brewery.

Craig Scharton, interim CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, said the revitalization started with the artists, who paved the way. “They’ve set the tone for everyone else.”

Continue onto NBC to read the complete article.

FDA Approves Genentech’s Lucentis (Ranibizumab Injection) For Diabetic Retinopathy

Hispanic Family

The Leading Cause Of Blindness Among Working Age Adults In The United States

  • First and only medicine FDA-approved to treat all forms of diabetic retinopathy
  • Granted Priority Review Designation by the FDA based on analysis of results from a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded collaborative group study

South San Francisco, Calif. – April, 2017 – Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lucentis® (ranibizumab injection) 0.3 mg for the monthly treatment of all forms of diabetic retinopathy. The most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults aged 20 to 741 and affects nearly 7.7 million people in the U.S.2

With this approval, Lucentis becomes the first and only FDA-approved medicine to treat diabetic retinopathy in people who have been diagnosed either with or without diabetic macular edema (DME), a complication of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the back of the eye. In February 2015, Lucentis received FDA approval for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy in people with DME based on data from the pivotal RIDE and RISE Phase III clinical trials.

The FDA granted Lucentis Priority Review for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy without DME based on an analysis of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network’s ( Protocol S study. This NIH-funded study compared Lucentis treatment to panretinal laser treatment in diabetic retinopathy patients both with and without DME. In the analysis that supported this approval, patients with and without DME in the Lucentis group experienced improvements in the severity of their retinopathy. Adverse events were consistent with those seen in previous studies.

“Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss among working-aged adults in the U.S. between the ages of 20 and 74. We are very pleased that Lucentis is now FDA-approved to treat retinopathy in people with and without DME,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “In multiple clinical studies, Lucentis demonstrated a significant improvement of patients’ diabetic retinopathy, and it is the first and only anti-VEGF therapy approved to treat all forms of diabetic retinopathy.”

Priority Review Designation is granted to medicines that the FDA has determined to have the potential to provide significant improvements in the safety and effectiveness of the treatment of a serious disease. The FDA previously granted Lucentis Breakthrough Therapy Designation for diabetic retinopathy in 2014 based on the pivotal RIDE and RISE Phase III clinical trials. Breakthrough designation is intended to expedite the development and review of medicines with early evidence of potential clinical benefit in serious diseases and to help ensure that patients receive access to medicines as soon as possible.

Diabetes affects more than 29 million people in the U.S.3 The longer a person has diabetes, especially if it is poorly controlled, the higher the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina become damaged. This can cause vision loss or distortion when the abnormal vessels leak blood or fluid into the eye.1

About Protocol S

The Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network’s ( Protocol S study was a randomized, active-controlled study comparing Lucentis to a type of laser therapy called panretinal or scatter photocoagulation (PRP) in 305 patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy, including those with and without diabetic macular edema (DME). In the Lucentis group, patients received a baseline 0.5 mg intravitreal injection followed by three monthly intravitreal injections, after which treatment was guided by pre-specified re-treatment criteria.

In the analysis that supported the approval, 37.8 percent (n=56/148) of patients in the Lucentis group without baseline DME had a two-step or better improvement in their diabetic retinopathy and 28.4 percent (n=42/148) had a three-step or better improvement at two years, according to the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study-Diabetic Retinopathy Severity Scale (ETDRS-DRSS). In Lucentis-treated patients with baseline DME, 58.5 percent (n=24/41) had a two-step or better improvement in their diabetic retinopathy and 31.7 percent (n=13/41) had a three-step or better improvement at two years. Adverse events were similar to those seen in other Lucentis trials.

The is funded by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. The is a collaborative network dedicated to facilitating multicenter clinical research of diabetic retinopathy, DME and associated conditions, and supports the identification, design and implementation of multicenter clinical research initiatives focused on diabetes-induced retinal disorders. The was formed in September 2002 and currently includes over 115 participating sites with over 400 physicians throughout the U.S. The Protocol S study was supported, in part, by Genentech as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting independent research and collaboration to advance science.

About Lucentis

Lucentis is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor designed to bind to and inhibit VEGF-A, a protein that is believed to play a critical role in the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and the hyperpermeability (leakiness) of the vessels.

Lucentis is FDA-approved for the treatment of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), macular edema after retinal vein occlusion (RVO), diabetic macular edema (DME), diabetic retinopathy and myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV).

Lucentis was developed by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. The company retains commercial rights in the U.S. and Novartis has exclusive commercial rights for the rest of the world.

Outside the U.S., Lucentis is approved in more than 110 countries to treat patients with wet AMD, for the treatment of DME, and due to macular edema secondary to both branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and visual impairment due to choroidal neovascularization (CNV).

Lucentis Important Safety Information

Patients should not use Lucentis if they have an infection in or around the eye or are allergic to Lucentis or any of its ingredients. Lucentis is a prescription medication given by injection into the eye and it has side effects. Some Lucentis patients have had detached retinas and serious infections inside the eye. If the eye becomes red, sensitive to light, or painful, or if there is a change in vision, patients should call or visit an eye doctor right away.

Some patients have had increased eye pressure before and within one hour of an injection.

Uncommonly, Lucentis patients have had serious, sometimes fatal problems related to blood clots, such as heart attacks or strokes. Fatal events were seen more often in patients with diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy with Lucentis compared with patients who did not receive Lucentis.

Serious side effects include inflammation inside the eye and, rarely, problems related to the injection procedure such as cataracts. These side effects can make vision worse.

The most common eye-related side effects are increased redness in the white of the eye, eye pain, small specks in vision and increased eye pressure. The most common non-eye-related side effects are nose and throat infections, headache, lung/airway infections, and nausea.

Patients may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or Patients may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

For additional safety information, please see Lucentis full Prescribing Information, available here:

About Genentech in Ophthalmology

Genentech’s vision for ophthalmology is to bring innovative therapeutics to people with eye diseases. Currently, the company is conducting Phase III clinical trials for people with geographic atrophy (GA), an advanced form of AMD, as well as investigating platforms for sustained ocular drug delivery and a treatment for giant cell arteritis, a form of vasculitis that can lead to blindness. Additional focus includes using bispecific antibodies to simultaneously address multiple targets for patients with AMD and diabetic eye disease.

About Genentech Access Solutions

Access Solutions is part of Genentech’s commitment to helping people access the Genentech medicines they are prescribed, regardless of their ability to pay. The team of in-house specialists at Access Solutions is dedicated to helping people navigate the access and reimbursement process, and to providing assistance to eligible patients in the United States who are uninsured or cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs for their medicine. To date, the team has helped more than 1.4 million patients access the medicines they need. Please contact Access Solutions (866) 4ACCESS/(866) 422-2377 or visit for more information.

About Genentech
Founded 41 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit