Genetic changes are focus of Sanford breast cancer clinical trial

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ELSA enrolling newly diagnosed patients

Anu Gaba, M.D.

A clearer understanding might help providers develop more effective personalized treatment plans that could improve survival.

A new clinical trial at Sanford Health is exploring how genetic changes that occur during breast cancer might help health care providers better identify, treat and control the disease.

The clinical trial is called ELSA, which stands for “Evaluating Targets in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer by Sequencing Tumor DNA at Diagnosis and After Progression”. It launched earlier this month and monitors changes in breast cancer tumor tissue at initial diagnosis and, if applicable, at recurrence.

“As we grow a database of genetic information from breast cancer survivors, we hope to be able to better predict how the disease behaves,” said Anu Gaba, M.D., an oncologist and breast cancer researcher based in Fargo who serves as the clinical trial’s principal investigator. “A clearer understanding might help providers develop more effective personalized treatment plans that could improve survival.”

The DNA of breast cancer tumors is sequenced at three different times to compare how its genetic composition varies at differing stages of the disease. The first testing time point is at initial diagnosis, the second at recurrence or metastasis of the cancer and the third after the first line of treatment for advanced disease.

“Tailoring treatments to address each person’s unique genetic makeup is the future of cancer care,” said David Pearce, Ph.D., president of Sanford Research. “Unfortunately, around 25 percent of breast cancer survivors experience recurrence or have their disease metastasize, but gathering data during the natural progression of the disease might help us better control it.”

Trial participants must be newly diagnosed with breast cancer to be considered for participation in the trial.

The trial is open in Fargo, Sioux Falls and Bismarck. For more information on ELSA, call (877) 652-1838.

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Tim Gerszewski
Sanford Health
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