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National breast cancer study selects Sanford as biospecimen repository

Athena Breast Health Network will store data at Edith Sanford Breast Center

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A national breast cancer research project has chosen Sanford Health to be the repository for the specimens collected as part of the 100,000 woman study.

The five-year study is called Women Informed to Screen Depending on Measures of risk, or WISDOM, and is being conducted by the Athena Breast Health Network, a collaboration among five University of California medical centers and Sanford Health’s Edith Sanford Breast Center. Investigators are studying routine annual screenings and personalized screenings based on genetic information to determine which method is more effective in reducing false positives and misdiagnoses of breast cancer

Sanford’s genomic lab will house the specimens collected from consenting women as part of this research. The study will enroll 100,000 women across the United States. Researchers from across the globe will have access to the data collected to use in other breast cancer studies.

“Sanford Health has been an outstanding partner in our breast health research and clinical care initiatives here at the University of California,” said Sandy Borowsky, the principal investigator at the University of California, Davis site of Athena. “Sanford demonstrated a commitment to improving care for women through innovative thinking and the hard work of collecting data across multiple sites.  Their professionalism and institutional support for a first class biospecimen lab made the choice clear.  It’s a true win-win opportunity.”

The Athena Breast Health Network in 2015 received a $14.1 million grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, to fund WISDOM. Edith Sanford Breast Center has been a member of Athena since 2013.  Other partners include the University of California campuses in San Francisco, San Diego, Davis, Los Angeles and Irvine.

“Sanford Health enjoys beneficial integration of its clinical and research operations, which has provided us the infrastructure to support the WISDOM repository,” said David Pearce, Ph.D., executive vice president for Sanford Research. “The data gathered and stored here have the potential to improve breast cancer screenings for women everywhere.”

Women age 40-74 years old who have not had a prior breast cancer diagnosis and receive care at an Athena site are eligible to enroll. Edith Sanford Breast Center in Sioux Falls expects to open enrollment in early 2017.

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas. It is one of the largest health systems in the nation with 45 hospitals and nearly 300 clinics in nine states and four countries. Sanford Health’s 28,000 employees, including more than 1,300 physicians, make it the largest employer in the Dakotas. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford have allowed for several initiatives, including global children's clinics, genomic medicine and specialized centers researching cures for type 1 diabetes, breast cancer and other diseases. For more information, visit sanfordhealth.org.


Tim Gerszewski

Sanford Health Media Relations

605-366-2432 / timothy.gerszewski@sanfordhealth.org

@SanfordTimG