Information is Power initiative launched, new cancer research team announced

A sellout crowd of 1,400 packed the Von Braun Center in Huntsville Thursday for the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s 7th annual Tie the Ribbons luncheon.

The event, which supports breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness, kicked off Information is Power, the Institute’s year-long genetic cancer risk testing initiative.  

The initiative offers free genetic breast and ovarian cancer risk testing to all 30-year old women in the cities of Huntsville and Madison, and in Madison County, for one year. Adults 19 or older living in Madison County and surrounding Alabama counties can take the same test for a discounted rate of $99.

Kimberly Strong, PhD, HudsonAlpha faculty investigator and the event’s keynote speaker, spoke about the initiative and about her personal battle with breast cancer.

“This is a groundbreaking initiative that has the possibility of providing access to information that can be life saving,” said Strong. “Leading this kind of project is a true honor.”

Also at the event, Richard Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha President and Science Director, announced the creation of a new research team for breast and ovarian cancer. The team will be led by HudsonAlpha faculty investigator Sara Cooper, PhD; and includes Devin Absher, PhD; Joy Agee; Marie Kirby, PhD; Brittany Lasseigne, PhD and Dmytro Starenki, PhD.

“It takes a team to do anything, especially in this field. Our scientists, utilizing the technologies available on genomics, are poised to make advances such as early detection and drug response,” said Myers. “We are doing amazing things already and we want to do more. I would like to thank donors from last year and this year for making this possible.”

HudsonAlpha co-founder Jim Hudson was also in attendance and reflected on how a dream has turned into reality.

“When Lonnie and I started HudsonAlpha, we had a vision that the researchers and companies would bring genomic medicine to the clinic,” said Hudson. “I would really like to thank Kailos Genetics. Because of their work with our team at HudsonAlpha, we are able to offer Information is Power here today.”

Attendees had the first opportunity to receive a test kit, created by Huntsville personalized medicine information company Kailos Genetics, and enroll in Information is Power. Starting Friday, October 30, test kits will be available to order on the Kailos website: https://www.kailosgenetics.com/.

Testing is free to all 30-year-old women in the Huntsville/Madison county community. In addition, all men and women ages 19 and over in Madison County and surrounding Alabama counties (Jackson, Limestone, Marshall and Morgan) can participate in the genetic testing for a discounted price of $99. If you reside outside of the surrounding counties, testing is available for $225.

To learn more, visit http://hudsonalpha.org/information-is-power.

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