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La Jolla’s Scripps Research Studies DNA of the “Wellderly”

By lajollahomes | April 7, 2009

Wellderly Twins

By Sarah Topol, RN

As science and medicine evolve we are learning more and more about the underpinnings of disease. The area of genomics has been growing tremendously in the past few years following the first complete mapping of the human genome in 2007. Technology has been rapidly improving our ability to scan and sequence the genome and therefore, we have seen many exciting changes in the area of genomics.  Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) partnered with Scripps Genomic Medicine (SGM) are at the forefront of this field and are located right here in La Jolla.

Several ongoing clinical research studies at STSI/SGM are targeted towards improving our knowledge and understanding of disease, both in prevention and treatment. The overall goal of this research is to discover ways to tailor treatment to the individual and move towards more personalized approach in patient care. If we can find ways to identify or predict an individual’s genetic risk, we may be able to adapt their healthcare plan to directly meet their needs, thereby saving costs and eliminating unnecessary procedures and medications that might not work for everyone. The hope is that this research will benefit future generations. The following highlights the studies that are being conducted at Scripps and offers some information to those who are interested in participating in a particular study.

Participation for each study is simple and involves only a one time DNA collection of either a blood or saliva sample, depending on the study. Any cost associated with the DNA collection will be covered by Scripps.

 Healthy Elderly, the “WellderlyScripps Genomic Medicine is looking for genetic clues that will tell us why some exceptional individuals live past 80 years of age and beyond without any significant medical problems. We expect to make discoveries that will impact the way we think about living long, healthy lives and the way we treat disease in the future.  If you are personally over 80 and do not have a history of heart disease, stroke (or mini-stroke-also known as TIA), diabetes, or major cancer – then you may be eligible to join the Scripps Healthy Elderly, or “Wellderly” study. Participation requires a meeting with a nurse who will conduct a short interview. A sample of your blood (3 tablespoons) will be drawn and used for DNA analysis. That’s it! Volunteering is simple and does not demand much of your time. The meeting can be arranged at a time and location most convenient for you.  With this research underway we can begin identifying genes that are responsible for maintaining health.  Once those genes are identified, we can design new targeted strategies to maintain health and prevent disease for future generations. Your personal and genetic information will be kept confidential.  For more information, go online to http://www.scripps.org/wellderly, email wellderly@scrippshealth.org, or call 858-554-5753. 

Polster Breast Cancer Trial (PINK)Scripps Genomic Medicine, in association with the Scripps Polster Breast Care Center located on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, is conducting a research study to learn more about the genetic causes of breast cancer.  Women 30 years of age or older who have undergone breast imaging for at least the past five years (mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI) and those records are accessible, are welcome to volunteer.  Participation takes approximately 20-30 minutes.  The study staff will collect your health and family history and a blood sample (less than 1 ½ tablespoons).    By studying genes that are responsible for breast cancer, we hope to design new strategies to improve screening and early diagnosis of this disease.  For more information, please call 858-554-5758. 

Migraine and Pain Study (MAPS)

The Dalessio Headache Center at Scripps Clinic and the Scripps Translational Science Institute are conducting research in families affected by migraine headache.  Migraine is strongly inherited in families and identifying the genes for migraine could help in identifying children and adolescents at risk.  Adolescents 12-17 years of age who have been diagnosed with migraine and have a parent diagnosed with migraine are eligible. For more information, please call 858-554-5754. 

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