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St. Luke's DNA Answers Community Health Research Study Identifies Significant Cancer Risk

BETHLEHEM. Pa., June 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Though only age 38, Nick Lumi recently underwent a colonoscopy to search for the presence of polyps or evidence of cancer. 

Lumi, of Nazareth, doesn't have any symptoms of colon cancer, nor a family history of it, yet he underwent the colonoscopy because a special blood test, offered at no cost via a St. Luke's community health research study called DNA Answers, found he carries a gene variant, or mutation, in one of the genes associated with Lynch syndrome. 

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition with an increased risk for developing different types of cancer, most notably colorectal cancer. The risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 5%, but with Lynch syndrome it jumps to 40% - 60% for women and 60% - 80% for men.

St. Luke's launched the community health research study, DNA Answers, last December in partnership with Helix, Inc., a California-based leader in population genomics. One of the goals of this joint initiative is to offer, at no cost to the participants, the opportunity to participate in research and have access to the latest screening techniques that support "precision medicine." 

"Through insights gleaned from patients' unique genetic make-up, precision medicine enables 'individually tailored' health care – from early disease diagnosis to individualized treatment," said St. Luke's Senior Vice President of Clinical Integration, Aldo Carmona, MD. 

Principal Investigator for DNA Answers, Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Medical Director for Precision Medicine at St. Luke's, Dr. Christopher Chapman noted, "DNA Answers initially aims to enroll 100,000 participants over four years. The individuals who participate in the research study will be provided, at no cost, with important health information about their potential risks for serious health conditions such as certain types of cardiovascular disease and different types of cancer, thereby allowing them to make proactive decisions in conjunction with their healthcare providers to potentially delay or even prevent these conditions from occurring later in life." 

"At first, having the test was a novelty to me, to learn if I have a predisposition to liking the taste of cilantro or to learn more about the geographic location of my ancestry," Lumi said.

In terms of learning that he carries a gene variant associated with Lynch Syndrome, Lumi recounted, "it was a surprise to me, and I'm glad I took the blood test, because now I can do something to try to prevent the cancer from developing or have it treated more precisely if I'm found to have it."

About St. Luke's

Founded in 1872, St. Luke's University Health Network is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 20,000 employees providing services at 15 campuses and 350+ outpatient sites. With annual net revenue of $3.5 billion, the Network's service area includes 11 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke's is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania.

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SOURCE St. Luke’s University Health Network, Inc.

By: PR Newswire Association LLC. - 18 Jun 2024
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