23andMe, Inc., the industry leader in personal genetics, announced that it is embarking on a world-wide effort to assemble the largest cohort of women whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer and to build an infrastructure, based on genetics, that will accelerate consumer-based research of the disease.
In honor of the 23rd anniversary of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, co-founders Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki told science and business leaders at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Conference that the company will seek to reach out to, and build a community around, women who have encountered breast cancer, thereby increasing the scientific understanding of the inherited aspects of a disease that affects 200,000 newly diagnosed individuals per year.
In recent years, the scientific community has effectively utilized genetic testing to direct and dramatically improve breast cancer treatment. “Great strides have been made in targeting treatment for breast cancer,” said Linda Avey. “We’d like to build on this progress, and we believe that by creating a web-based forum that enables women to share their experiences, the entire community could benefit, and more personalized treatments may ultimately be an outcome.”
Women who sign up for 23andMe’s genetic testing service can opt-in to take surveys that help drive genome-wide association studies. Genetic profiles combined with medical and family history contribute greatly to research efforts, and help researchers understand causes around disease and treatment. The company will be creating a specific breast cancer network within 23andWe, the research division of 23andMe. There, women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer can come together, build a community, share knowledge and offer advice.
“Women who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer can learn a tremendous amount from women who have already been treated,” said Anne Wojcicki. “By combining the ability to participate in research with the ability to learn from each other, 23andMe hopes to make a significant contribution to this community.”
The 23andMe? service enables its customers to:
– Learn how the latest research studies relate to their genomes;
– Actively participate in a new research approach and contribute to the advancement of the field of genetics.
– Compare their profiles to family and friends who are also 23andMe participants and trace the inheritance of genes associated with specific traits.
– Join discussion groups around any areas of interest, both health and ancestry-related.
Source: 23andMe, USA