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CDC Funds States' Breast Cancer Genomics Initiatives

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded $2.7 million in grants to three states — Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon — to take steps to begin to adopt evidence-based recommendations for breast cancer genomic tests and other interventions.

The grants, which provide $300,000 to each state in the first year, will be used to promote applications of breast cancer genomics best practices using education, surveillance, and policy measures in an effort to address the needs of young women at high risk of developing breast cancer.

The states' health departments will develop or enhance activities to promote breast cancer genomics by increasing BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing and counseling, increase insurance coverage of gene testing and clinical interventions for breast cancer, and develop programs to increase public knowledge about family history, risk assessment, and genetic tests.

Katrina Trivers, an epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, told GenomeWeb Daily News today that the agreements are part of a larger effort by the centers to promote best practices in cancer genomics.

"CDC has long worked to integrate genomics into public health research, policy, and practice to prevent disease and improve the health of all people," Trivers said in an e-mail.

CDC used the funding under a cooperative agreement as part of the Education Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act, a section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

These state-level initiatives have the potential to serve as trials for larger breast cancer genomics efforts.

"Certainly state-based projects are a good way to see what works and doesn't work in terms of implementation on larger scales, including nation-wide," Trivers told GWDN. "States are well suited to do this work since they are at a small enough level that they can rapidly build or expand the infrastructure and partnerships needed to do this kind of work and make an impact.

"Also, working on a state level to promote policy change (particularly with attempting to increase insurance coverage) makes sense, given the wide variability in insurance laws and mandates by state," she added. "What is going to work to increase coverage in one state may not work in another. Our hope is that these projects will definitely inform national policy efforts to make sure that all receive evidence-based care."

According to CDC's website, it approved eight applications for the funding but it was able to allocate funds to only these three states.

Trivers said that those approved but unfunded applications are held for 12 months and may be reconsidered for funding if more funds become available.

The funding will enable Michigan and Oregon to continue ongoing CDC-supported work in breast cancer genomics. It will enable Georgia to undertake these initiatives for the first time.

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