The University of California system has announced grants of $4.8 million from the Safeway Foundation and $5.3 million from the UC Office of the President for an initiative that aims to accelerate advancements in breast cancer prevention, screening, and treatment.
Hosted at UC San Francisco, the ATHENA Breast Health Network will enable 150,000 women in California to be screened for breast cancer and followed for several decades by medical centers at UCSF, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, and UC San Diego. Investigators will work to promote personalized medicine and drive innovation in the field by developing common systems, forging industry partnerships, and providing state-of-the-art molecular diagnostics. They also will work to create a biospecimen repository that tracks mammograms and biopsy, cancer, and serial blood specimens to allow large-scale comparative research that can help tailor treatments.
The most common cancer in women, breast cancer strikes some 200,000 women annually, killing more than 40,000, according to the American Cancer Society. The large scale of the study has the potential to significantly affect breast cancer treatment and prevention for the next several decades.
Partners in the initiative include the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, the Northern California Cancer Center, the Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, the National Cancer Institute's BIG Health Consortium, and the Center for Medical Technology Policy.
"ATHENA is a model of multi-institutional collaboration and demonstrates the enormous potential in shared systems," said UC senior vice president for health sciences and services John D. Stobo. "This is a great example of the power of our statewide university network of academic medical centers. This initiative will demonstrate that the total of what can be accomplished by UC functioning as an integrated system can far exceed the sum of contributions by its individual campuses."