Skip to main content


Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, Athena Breast Health Network team for breast cancer research; AKESOgen to perform analysis

Mar 08, 2014 11:30AM ● By MED Editor
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.

Get exclusive access to the digital edition of MED Magazine (and no spam ever!)

* indicates required