Discount Tire and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) recently 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, which Discount Tire and the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation are funding, 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, a press release claims.
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 which TGen scientists perform 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 5-10% 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, according to a release.
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,” Diane Halle, president of the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation, said in a prepared statement.
“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.”
Most people are unaware of their personal risk --- average or above average --- of developing one or more of these cancers during their lifetime, a release claims.
Studies show individuals who are aware of their family history are more likely to participate in prevention and screening, and knowing one’s family history correlates with longer survival, a release states.
“This partnership will allow our Discount Tire family to more effectively monitor their health and contribute to the management of their overall healthcare,” Michael Zuieback, executive chairman of Discount Tire, said in a prepared statement.
“Discount Tire has always valued empowering our employees in protecting their most important asset, their health.”
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,” Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen president and research director, said in a prepared statement.
“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.”