The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation and the Scripps Research Institute Partner to Advance Genomic Breast Cancer Research

Released: 11/2/2012 3:30 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Sanford Health
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Newswise — (Sioux Falls, SD, Jupiter, FL, La Jolla, CA) – The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) recently announced a dynamic, interdisciplinary collaboration that will lay the groundwork for significant advancements in personalized breast cancer treatment and care.

Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research will leverage TSRI’s expertise in genomic sequencing as it embarks on a proof-of-concept study to reveal the differences between a woman’s normal genome and her breast tumor genome during the progression of disease. The project marks an important milestone for Edith Sanford, as it will establish research protocols to frame larger-scale studies that will help pioneer the integration of genomics into breast cancer research and patient care.

“Edith Sanford is thrilled to partner with Scripps Research, an institution that is on the cutting-edge of genomics, and harness their expertise and technological capabilities in our work to accelerate these discoveries from the bench to bedside,” said Brian Leyland Jones, MB BS, PhD, director of Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research. “This partnership will facilitate the translation of large-scale sequencing data into meaningful information that will help us understand how to more precisely and accurately treat breast cancer patients based on their DNA profiles.”

Specifically, Edith Sanford will provide TSRI with tissue samples from 25 breast cancer patients for analysis to identify the changes in genes and proteins that are linked to the cancer and Edith Sanford will then validate these findings through clinical testing.
“Scripps Research is committed to helping accelerate the work of Edith Sanford to bring to patients the lifesaving potential of forward genomic research,” said Brandon Young, director of the Genomics and Cell-Based Screening Core Lab at Scripps Florida. “We are excited to work with Edith Sanford as it is establishing a genomics program that will transform the way we think about and treat breast cancer.”

Young and colleagues, Nicholas Schork, PhD, Ali Torkamani, PhD, and Andrew Su, PhD, at Scripps California, and the Genomics Core at Scripps Florida will be working jointly with the research team at Edith Sanford.

Additionally, in order to mine and accurately interpret vast sets of patient data produced in this field of research, Edith Sanford recently established the foundation for a leading bioinformatics program through the hire of Scooter Willis, PhD, as its director of computational bioinformatics. Dr. Willis is a specialist in computer science and engineering and brings expertise in the genomic analysis of expression data from the fast-moving field of next-generation sequencing. He will also work closely with TSRI and play a vital role in facilitating the partnership.

The prestigious partnership with TSRI, which Leland-Jones confirms is the first of many high-caliber collaborations, and the ongoing recruitment of leading scientific experts, are pivotal steps for Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research as it positions itself as a national hub for breast cancer genomic research.

Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research is supported by the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating breast cancer through genomic and translational research. Thanks to a transformational gift that launched the Foundation in 2011 and will catalyze its future growth, Edith Sanford is able to commit 100 percent of every contribution to its research program.

“To change the course of breast cancer, our research team is pursuing collaborations to bring together the brightest minds from different scientific fields to quickly move the field of breast cancer research, treatment and care,” said Kimberly Simpson Earle, president of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.

About the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation
The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation is pioneering a bold new comprehensive approach to breast cancer, with a mission to unlock each woman's genetic code, advance today's prevention and treatment, and end breast cancer for future generations. Edith Sanford Breast Cancer is pursuing cutting-edge translational genomic research to identify specific treatments that will work best for each person, prevent the disease on an individual basis, and ultimately eradicate breast cancer. To accelerate the research and advances in care, a cornerstone of this ground-breaking organization is our biobank – a shared collection of genetic information from people of all ages, medical histories and backgrounds – that provides researchers easy access to data.

The launch of this movement began with a gift from Denny Sanford, who tragically lost his mother, Edith, to breast cancer when he was just four years old. For more information about the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, visit edithsanford.org or call 1-855-GO-EDITH (463-3484).

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is the patient care and research partner of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, and the largest rural, nonprofit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities, in seven states. In addition, this dynamic integrated health system is now developing international clinics in Ireland, Ghana, Israel and Mexico.
Sanford Health has been in service for more than 100 years and includes 35 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and nearly 1200 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 25,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota.

About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. Over the past decades, TSRI has developed a lengthy track record of major contributions to science and health, including laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. The institute employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

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