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HudsonAlpha expands Information is Power initiative

Huntsville, Ala. — HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology announced today that it will extend its unique breast and ovarian cancer genetic risk testing initiative Information is Power for another year. The announcement was made at HudsonAlpha’s annual Tie the Ribbons luncheon to support breast and ovarian cancer research.

Information is Power is a collaborative effort between HudsonAlpha and genetic testing company Kailos Genetics, a HudsonAlpha associate company and developer of the genetic screening tool.

The initiative was set to wrap up in October of this year, but thanks to a generous sponsorship from Redstone Federal Credit Union, the initiative will be extended and expanded. Free testing will be available through October 2017 to 30-year-old women and men who reside in Madison, Jackson, Limestone, Marshall and Morgan Counties.

Redstone Federal Credit Union said sponsoring the initiative was important to them because of the positive impact that it will have on the community.

"We understand the importance of being knowledgeable about your health and risks to your health,” said Joseph Newberry, President and CEO of RFCU. “We also understand that for many in our community, access to such information can be challenging. This is Redstone Federal Credit Union’s way of helping to build a healthy and strong community and we are happy to do it.’’

The test screens for mutations in the well-known BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as additional genes linked to other cancers. If you are 19 or older and reside in the five counties included in the initiative, the test will be available at a reduced cost of $129.

"This type of testing is traditionally done in a context where a person has a family history of cancer, and this initiative makes testing available to people in the community regardless of family history,” said Kimberly Strong, PhD, HudsonAlpha faculty investigator and director of the Ethics and Genomics Program. “Now with Redstone’s support, we are able to offer free testing to 30-year old women and men in the surrounding counties as well.”

Kailos said offering free testing to residents in five counties is one step closer to achieving their goal of population-wide genetic testing, which would allow everyone to have access to information about their genes.

“Our mission is to give people insight into their genetic data to help them make smarter, more informed decisions for their health,” said Troy Moore, chief scientific officer of Kailos Genetics. “Now that we’ve started to see the life changing impacts of the Information is Power initiative, we are excited to give even more people access to these benefits by extending that opportunity not only for another year, but to all 30-year olds in North Alabama.”

Phase two of Information is Power will begin October 29, 2016, at which time 30-year-old men and women who reside in the five counties will be able to order a free test kit. To learn more, visit http://www.hudsonalpha.org/information-is-power

About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological challenges. Opened in 2008, its mission is four-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; bringing genomic medicine into clinical care; fostering life sciences entrepreneurship and business growth; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus encourage collaborations that produce advances in medicine and agriculture. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and includes 32 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit: http://hudsonalpha.org/.

HudsonAlpha Media Contact:
Margetta Thomas
mthomas@hudsonalpha.org
25-327-0425

Kailos Media Contact:
Christina Kendall, Dodge Communications
ckendall@dodgecommunications.com
770.576.2545

Redstone Media Contact:
Patricia Lloyd
Plloyd@redfcu.org
256-722-3735

Funding to support research and delivery of a clinical-grade test to monitor breast cancer recurrence in patients

Huntsville, ALABAMA – June 22, 2016Kailos Genetics, a personalized medicine information company offering leading-edge gene-based testing, today announced they have entered into a collaboration with Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah to develop a clinical-grade test for circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Backed by a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the minimally invasive test will be used to monitor patients for breast cancer disease recurrence.

Approximately 1.5 million women in the United States will be monitored for disease recurrence in 2015. The long dormancy and spontaneous re-growth of cancer cells presents a major challenge for monitoring breast cancer survivors. Current imaging methods to detect disease recurrence are expensive, carry a risk of radiation exposure and have limited detection sensitivity for small masses and micro-metastases. Additionally, current tests do not provide personalized information about mutations that cause resistance to therapy. The test being developed by Kailos and HCI is intended to improve outcomes through a sensitive, accurate and affordable blood test that measures ctDNA to detect breast cancer tumors earlier than imaging, and provide information about therapy resistance mutations.

“When academic and commercial organizations collaborate, we are able to see exciting advances in research be practically applied within the consumer and clinical space,” said Troy Moore, chief scientific officer at Kailos Genetics.

“We hope that the work we do as a result of this grant accelerates the translation of research discoveries into useful tools that improve cancer care,” stated Katherine Varley, PhD, investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute and assistant professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah. “This research has the potential to make a big difference in the lives of breast cancer patients and oncologists in the coming years.”

The research and development of the test will be structured as a five-year multi-site study. It will occur at both HCI facilities and Kailos’ commercial next-generation sequencing CLIA-certified laboratory to ensure accuracy and reproducibility.

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 Kailos 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.kailosgenetics.com/about-kailos.

About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is one of the world’s top academic research and cancer treatment centers. HCI is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (a 23-member alliance of the world's leading cancer centers) and is a National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. HCI treats patients with all forms of cancer and operates several high-risk clinics that focus on melanoma and breast, colon, and pancreas cancers. HCI manages the Utah Population Database - the largest genetic database in the world, with more than 16 million records linked to genealogies, health records, and vital statistics. Using this data, HCI researchers have identified cancer-causing genes, including the genes responsible for melanoma, colon and breast cancer, and paraganglioma. The HCI Cancer Learning Center for patient and public education contains one of the nation's largest collections of cancer-related publications. The institute is named after Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., a Utah philanthropist, industrialist, and cancer survivor.

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