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New online study of BRCA cancer risk in Ashkenazi Jews could provide new model for genetic testing

| | March 21, 2018
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A new study will provide free testing for three mutations that substantially increase the risk for developing breast, ovarian and prostate cancer among people with Eastern European Jewish ancestry.

The BRCA Founder Outreach Study (BFOR)…will test 4,000 men and women in four US cities — New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston — for mutations in the BRCA gene that are more common among those with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Those who test positive for one of the mutations will receive genetic counseling to figure out next steps.

But the study’s goal extends beyond cancer or Ashkenazi Jews, said [Dr. Kenneth Offit, who is serving on the study’s executive committee]…

“We think it’s a model for the future of genetic testing in health care,” he said.

What’s new about the way testing is conducted in the BFOR study, Offit said, is the fact that patients sign up online and can choose to receive their results from their primary care provider. The testing will be free for participants, and the study is open to anyone over 25 years old who has health insurance and at least one grandparent with Ashkenazi heritage.

“Yes, we will be testing many individuals of Ashkenazi background and we will save lives for sure because we know that,” he said, “but the research question is to improve the way we offer this information to the whole population.”

Read full, original post: New study on cancer risk in Ashkenazi Jews aims to be model for genetic testing

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