Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancers, killing millions of women every year. Research is constantly trying to put an end to this terrible illness or at least to get a head start in the run for the patient’s life. Thus, a pioneer database is being launched that will contribute to scientists’ upcoming research. It will collect the genetic data of patients across the U.S. and France.
The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, U.S.’s Quest Diagnostics Inc. and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings are going to put together in the same database all the genetic test results from their patients, making this the start and meeting point for promising innovative takes on battling breast cancer.
More and more women have undergone genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in the last couple of years, as a result of Angelina Jolie drawing awareness to the matter, after revealing that she had the breast and ovarian cancer mutation herself. The number of requests from the general public skyrocketed when Jolie took the highly drastic measure of submitting herself to a double mastectomy and then, a year later, to a preventative hysterectomy.
BRCA Share will make it possible for more doctors and scientists to have access to a wide variety of genetic tests in order to improve their diagnostic procedures and to supply researchers with the material they need for further investigations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.
All data will remain confidential, but it will be possible for patients to be contacted by their doctors if there are changes in the status of their cases. There will be a fee for accessing the database and the money will be used by the aforementioned private laboratories to conduct their studies.
It is Quest Diagnostics Inc.’s expectation that more and more laboratories from more countries will join in on supplying the BRCA database, so that the chance for success grows exponentially. Marcia Eisenberg, senior vice-president of the U.S. branch of Laboratory Corporation and also chief scientific officer, will be the first woman to participate in the program.
“Knowledge is the No. 1 benefit,” Eisenberg said, noting that, in the future, research upon which the database is created will allow the diagnosis of a wide selection of variants as well as the identification of harmless or potentially threatening gene sequences.
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