23andMe to create online breast cancer support network

3 Oct 2008

In acknowledging this October as the 23rd anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, personal genetics firm 23andMe, in which Google has invested US$3.9m, will be forming a DNA-based network for women who have been impacted by breast cancer.

The aim of this initiative is to build the biggest global community to date through genetic testing, and in doing so form a powerful resource for ‘consumer-based’ research on the disease.

So 23andMe will be creating a specific breast cancer network where women can meet, interact and provide information and support, but also women who use the firm’s genetic testing services will hopefully opt in for surveys that can contribute to association studies between genomes and predisposition to developing breast cancer.

“Great strides have been made in targeting treatment for breast cancer,” said Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe. (The other co-founder is Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google co-founder, Sergey Brin)

“We’d like to build on this progress, and we believe that by creating a web-based forum that enables women to share their experiences, the entire community could benefit and more personalised treatments may ultimately be an outcome,” she added.

Wojcicki said that combining the ability to take part in research in this area, with learning from women who have already been treated for breast cancer, gives 23andMe the potential to make a difference.

23andMe has been around since December 2007 and offers genetic testing for US$399, which is also available in Europe. Results can show maternal and paternal line, as well as offer insight into the predisposition to develop certain health problems or even addictions and traits.

By Marie Boran