Pilot study to focus on family history of relevant diseases and genetic risk score
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.— Feb. 12, 2020 — Discount Tire, the nation’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), today announced phase II of a genetic-based screening pilot wellness trial for five of the most common types of cancer: breast, colorectal, melanoma, pancreas and prostate. The trial, funded by Discount Tire and the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation, will allow TGen, an affiliate of City of Hope, to fully consent and enroll up to 300 Discount Tire employees and collect DNA samples and a relevant disease-related family history from each participant.
A well-documented family medical history provides a roadmap for individuals to take a more proactive approach to reducing certain health risks, as they share common factors — genes, lifestyle, environment — that paint a fuller picture of diseases that may run in their family. This type of analysis looks for patterns among relatives that can help identify those individuals with a higher-than-usual chance of developing, among other health issues, certain cancers.
Adding to the family history will be a genomic screen performed by TGen scientists to look at the variations in each participants DNA. By combining the family history with the screening data, the scientists will develop what is known as a genetic risk score — a calculation that grades their likelihood of developing a certain disease, in this instance one of the five cancers being studied.
By including the genomic screening component, the estimated size of the study, and previous research data, TGen scientists expect 5- to 10-percent of individuals, minimally, to have a positive family history, an above average genetic risk, or both for developing at least one type of cancer. The study is expected to bring personal health value to both individuals and, by extension, to their families.
This Phase II project follows on the success of a pilot trial that focused solely on prostate cancer and included 30 Discount Tire employees ages 40-69 years old without a previous prostate cancer diagnosis.
“The Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation and Discount Tire are excited to partner with TGen to launch the Phase II Wellness Trial for our Arizona employees. Focusing on identifying a genetic predisposition to five cancers, the trial has the potential to be groundbreaking in the prevention and early detection for our Discount Tire employees,” said Diane Halle, President of the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation.
Currently, most people are unaware of their personal risk – average or above average – of developing one or more of these cancers during his/her lifetime. Studies have shown that individuals who are aware of their family history are more likely to participate in prevention and screening, and that knowing one’s family history correlates with longer survival.
“This partnership will allow our Discount Tire family to more effectively monitor their health and contribute to the management of their overall healthcare. Discount Tire has always valued empowering our employees in protecting their most important asset, their health,” said Michael Zuieback, Executive Chairman, Discount Tire.
As part of the phase II study, TGen genetic counselors will meet with all participants to explain their results and provide perspective, clarity, and guidance on how best to use this information to better understand their health and become proactive in their efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle with an eye toward prevention.
“We applaud Discount Tire and the Discount Tire Foundation for their support, vision and continued partnership on this project,” said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director. “Development of a more robust risk prediction method is central to early detection and prevention of cancer in at-risk individuals who otherwise may go undetected through traditional approaches.”
The low cost of genetic sequencing has given rise to direct-to-consumer genetic screening, empowering individuals with their own genetic information and the potential to drive unprecedented levels of prevention and early detection of cancer and other diseases. Most cancers, however, are not the result of a single inherited mutation, which is what most tests currently use to develop a risk prediction.
TGen’s screening provides a more comprehensive cancer risk assessment by testing hundreds of genetic variants in their DNA, which can act together with family history, environmental and lifestyle factors to increase one’s cancer risk. Additionally, this follow-on study sets the stage for an even more comprehensive testing portfolio, using multiple factors to calculate an individual’s overall genetic risk score, as well as providing an early warning system for cancer detection, a critical factor in increasing survival.
Armed with this knowledge, individuals can adopt prevention, early screening, lifestyle, behavioral and environmental changes that will promote their health and longevity.
Written by Steve Yozwiak
Wednesday February 12, 2020 – https://www.tgen.org/news/2020/february/12/discount-tire-partners-with-tgen-on-cancer-screen/
About TGen, an affiliate of City of Hope
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases: www.cityofhope.org. This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org. Follow TGen on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.
TGen Senior Science Writer