HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology launched a health initiative Thursday that county leaders are calling groundbreaking. The Institute will offer free genetic screening for genes related to breast and ovarian cancer for every woman in Madison County who is 30 years old.
The initiative is being dubbed “Information is Power,” and it was unveiled at HudsonAlpha’s annual breast and ovarian cancer fundraiser “Tie the Ribbons” lunch event on Thursday at the Von Braun Center.
Every woman living in Madison County who is, or will be, 30 years old between October 29, 2015 and October 28, 2016 will be eligible for a genetic test that identifies gene variations that increase one’s risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The test, called the Praxis test, offers consumer screening for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and 17 additional genes known to be linked to the cancers.
“Information truly is power, and we have the power to provide valuable, potentially life-changing information to women right now,” said Richard Myers, PhD, President and Science Director of HudsonAlpha and one of the original scientists to decode the human genome. “Beyond making the very personal decision whether or not to do genetic testing, this also is an opportunity to launch important conversations between spouses, between mothers and daughters, and across generations.”
HudsonAlpha says the idea for Information is Power came from a challenge issued to the Institute at last year’s “Tie the Ribbons” event. The Keynote speaker, who is the scientist who discovered the BRCA gene, made an “impassioned plea” for the testing be made available to the Huntsville region.
The free genetic tests are only offered to women aged 30 years old. But Kailos Genetics, a Huntsville-based personalized medicine information company, is also making tests available at greatly-reduced cost to women and men who are 18 years of age and older in Madison County and surrounding counties over the next year. That initiative also begins with the “Tie the Ribbons” event.
“It is our goal to make genetic testing an option for all people who would like to access their gene-based information. This type of insight into genetic data can help people make smarter, more informed decisions for their health,” said Troy Moore, chief scientific officer of Kailos Genetics. Funding for the Information is Power initiative will come from “Tie the Ribbons,” HudsonAlpha donors, as well as local municipalities.
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a genomic science and applications nonprofit organization. It is both a high-volume genomic data producer serving thousands of academic, clinical, and commercial clients’ needs. The Institute is a global scientific collaborator valued for its genomic data analysis and interpretation to solve some of the most pressing questions in cancer, undiagnosed childhood genetic disorders, neuropsychiatric disorders, immune-mediated disease, agriculture and public health. Its unique 152 acre campus melds the boundaries between nonprofit scientists, educators and entrepreneurs so that collaboration sparks innovation and growth. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit: http://hudsonalpha.org/.
About Kailos: Kailos Genetics is a trusted provider of personalized health information. Addressing unmet needs of healthcare consumers and their families is Kailos’ primary reason for being. With its proprietary and robust DNA sequencing enrichment and laboratory information system, TargetRichTM, Kailos helps make personalized medicine affordable and accessible for everyone through the PraxisTM test. Founded in 2010, and based in Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Kailos is committed to providing a simple, trusted and affordable way to help individuals understand what’s in their genes. To learn more, visit Praxiscanhelp.com/about-kailos.