Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, Athena Breast Health Network Team for Breast Cancer Research; AKESOgen to Perform Analysis

>PRWEB.COM Newswire
Sioux Falls, SD/San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 04, 2014

Three-thousand bio specimens from women will be analyzed as part of the ongoing collaboration between Edith Sanford Breast Cancer and Athena Breast Health Network to determine whether certain genetic variants could be indicators of breast cancer, officials from both organizations announced today.

The effort aims to gather information that will impact prevention strategies and more precisely identify risk levels of developing breast cancer.

As part of the study, 1,500 women at elevated risk and 1,500 women at average risk for breast cancer will be genotyped.

“We believe this to be one of the largest groups of women to ever be studied to determine breast cancer risk levels,” said Gene Hoyme, MD, president of Sanford Research. “If an elevated risk is identified, care teams can improve the likelihood of healthier lifestyle changes and implement preventative treatments when appropriate.”

In November, Edith Sanford Breast Cancer and Athena Breast Health Network announced a partnership in which Sanford Health became a clinical partner with the Athena Breast Health Network, positioning the health system to begin providing patients with a comprehensive breast cancer risk assessment at the time of mammography screening. Additionally, the program will offer patients the opportunity to participate in research aimed at gaining a better understanding of breast cancer and its risk factors, ultimately raising the standard of care for women everywhere.

To analyze each sample from the 3,000 women, AKESOgen, an Atlanta-based biomarker and genetics company selected by Edith Sanford and Athena, will utilize Oncochip technology.

“The Oncochip is a uniquely designed genetic analysis tool that uses Illumina’s beadarray technology. It will allow us to provide genetic data of the highest quality to the collaboration. The data will benefit both the participants and the breast cancer research community,” said Mark Bouzyk, PhD, chief scientific officer of AKESOgen.

Data gathered and studied by Edith Sanford and Athena could positively influence the risk-assessment tool and care plans.

“The addition of the genetic variants risk assessment allows us to deliver a new level of personalized medicine and gain a better understanding an individual’s risk, thus putting our collaboration at the forefront of modern medicine,” said Laura van ‘t Veer, PhD, Director of Applied Genomics at the University of California, San Francisco and an Athena spokesperson.

Athena Breast Health Network is a collaboration among the five University of California medical centers. Edith Sanford Breast Cancer is its first partner outside of California and was selected because of its expertise in breast cancer genomics and its ability to integrate the risk assessment into patient care.

About Sanford Health and Edith Sanford Breast Cancer
Sanford Health is the largest rural nonprofit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities, in nine states. In addition, this dynamic integrated health system is now developing international clinics in Ghana, Israel and Mexico. Sanford Health has more than 26,000 employees, and includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine.

In 2011, Sanford Health announced the launch of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Initiative, a bold new endeavor to end breast cancer, comprised of state-of-the-art patient care, genomic research and national fundraising through the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. For more information, visit or

About Athena Breast Care Network
The Athena Breast Health Network (Athena) is a unique collaboration among the five University of California (UC) medical/cancer centers (UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF), the Graduate School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, and many other public and private partners. The Network takes a transdisciplinary approach by design, and its participants work together across fields including: epidemiology, genetics, molecular biology, psychology and social and behavioral sciences, primary care, radiology, pathology, oncology, surgery and health services research. Also included are clinical staff and genetic counselors, health information technology professionals, health care administrators, and importantly, patient advocates.

Athena is integrating clinical care and research in order to revolutionize the delivery of breast care. By standardizing the collection of data from both patients and physicians, integrating molecular profiling at the time of breast cancer diagnosis, and creating an unparalleled biospecimen repository, Athena will enable personalized care informed by science and will fuel continuous improvement in treatment options and outcomes.

Key components of Athena include:

Identifying women at high risk for breast cancer who will be offered prevention services and decision support
A comprehensive informatics strategy that includes tools to collect, analyze, and distribute clinical and research data in real time
Web-based decision tools for patients and providers to translate clinical evidence into actionable treatment options – allowing physicians to tailor treatment to biology, patient preference and clinical performance
A data and biospecimen repository to support large-scale, longitudinal studies that will enable tailored prevention and treatment strategies
Underpinning these goals is a culture that supports continuous improvement, as well as a commitment by Athena clinicians and researchers across California to share data. With this unique collaboration, Athena aims to change the options for patients today and create a better future for all women at risk of developing breast cancer.

UC Disclaimer
The information stated above was prepared by Sanford Health and reflects solely the opinion of the health system. Nothing in this statement shall be construed to imply any support or endorsement of Sanford, or any of its products, by The Regents of the University of California, its officers, agents and employees.

About AKESOgen, Inc.
AKESOgen is an integrated genomics and pharmacogenetics company providing biorepository services and high-throughput, biomarker profiling and genomics analysis utilizing different types of markers (e.g. DNA, mRNA, miRNA, methylation) for the clinical and R&D market to CLIA standards. A private company based in Atlanta, GA, AKESOgen is a genomics contract research organization that services the academic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, clinical testing and government sectors. AKESOgen provides expertise in biobanking, assay development and all ancillary services in a purpose-built facility. For more information, visit