HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In October 2015, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will embark on a groundbreaking, community-wide women's breast and ovarian cancer health initiative. 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, Information is Power, kicks off at HudsonAlpha's annual breast and ovarian cancer fundraiser "Tie the Ribbons," a lunch event held October 29, 2015 at the Von Braun Center.
Over the next year, every woman residing in Madison County who is, or will be 30 years old between the kickoff event 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, created by Huntsville personalized medicine information company Kailos Genetics, offers consumer screening for the well-known BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as 17 additional genes known to be linked to breast and ovarian 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."
The idea for Information is Power emerged from a challenge issued to HudsonAlpha at the 2014 "Tie the Ribbons" event. Dr. Mary-Claire King, the keynote speaker and the scientist who discovered the BRCA genes, made an impassioned plea that this testing be made available in the Huntsville region.
Theresa Bayer is a breast cancer survivor who was originally against genetic testing, but losing her mother to breast cancer, surviving the disease herself and learning that her sister was BRCA1 positive, changed her mind.
"Once you've had breast cancer, you will do anything to not get it again. I am thankful for Dr. Mary-Claire King and her breakthrough breast cancer discovery of the BRCA1 gene," said Bayer.
"HudsonAlpha's tag line is 'Science for life.' What better example than genetic testing that can save lives? A project of this scope has never before been undertaken, and we are grateful to the many donors who have made this possible, and to Kailos Genetics for its commitment," said Jim Hudson, CEO and co-founder of HudsonAlpha.
In addition to the free genetic tests offered to women aged 30, Kailos Genetics also is making the tests available at greatly reduced cost to both women and men who are 18 years of age and older in Madison County and surrounding counties over the next year, beginning at 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.
The first kits will be available at the Tie the Ribbons event on October 29. Discount tickets to the lunch event are available until September 1. Register here https://support.hudsonalpha.org/tietheribbons.
Please join us as we make history and support the health of the women and families of North Alabama and beyond.
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 www.praxiscanhelp.com/about-kailos.