ATHENA Breast Health Network Announced, CMTP to Play Critical Role

The Center for Medical Technology Policy (CMTP) has received funding to play a critical role in the ATHENA Breast Health Network, an unprecedented demonstration project in the area of genomics and personalized medicine that was recently announced by the University of California. This initiative, aimed at driving innovation in breast cancer prevention and screening, has the potential to significantly impact breast cancer treatment and prevention for the next several decades.

The ATHENA Network will follow 150,000 women for decades at five medical centers across the University of California system. Using an innovative web-based informatics strategy, ATHENA will modernize the way in which clinical information is collected, tracked, and integrated with research, quality improvement and clinical care. Beyond treatment of breast cancer, ATHENA has the potential to serve as a transformative model in the evolution towards genomic and personalized medicine by driving innovation, creating new research infrastructure and tools, and developing new paradigms that link research with clinical practice.

CMTP’s role in this project is to create a stakeholder-guided approach to comparative effectiveness research in genomics and personalized medicine within the cohort of patients. This will occur through engaging patients, clinicians, public and private payers, product developers and others in a priority setting process to identify the key comparative effectiveness research questions pertinent to genomics and breast cancer care prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

The ATHENA principal investigator is Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, professor of surgery and radiology, director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and co-leader of the breast oncology program at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In addition to research entities across the University of California system, collaborators include the Northern California Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute's BIG Health Consortium.

CMTP’s work is being funded through a grant from QuantumLeap Healthcare.