MILWAUKEE & ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aurora Health Care, Wisconsin's largest health care provider, and Celera Corporation (NASDAQ:CRA - News), a health care company focused on genetics, announced today that they have entered into an agreement to collaborate on the integration of genetic testing aimed at optimizing heart care for Aurora patients.
As a result of activities under the agreement, Aurora is the first health care provider in Wisconsin and one of the first in the nation to be able to offer patients a test for a variant in a gene called KIF6, which studies have shown indicates a significantly increased risk for heart disease.
Studies have shown that carriers of the KIF6 gene variant make up about 60 percent of researched populations and that untreated KIF6 carriers have a 50-55 percent greater risk for heart attacks1-4.
Despite the risk factor, research also has shown that carriers respond very well to certain statins1,2, a medication used to reduce cholesterol levels. The use of genetic testing is expected to help Aurora physicians identify those patients who are most at risk and to select optimal treatments for them earlier, before a heart attack occurs.
This testing, which will be Aurora’s first use of genetic testing in cardiovascular care, is expected to start with patients of Aurora’s Cardiovascular Services and to be useful for primary care physicians as well. A simple swab of the inside of a patient’s cheek will provide the DNA sample needed for the test.
Aurora and Celera have agreed to explore research areas of mutual interest to validate additional genetic markers for cardiovascular disease risk and treatment.
“We’re delighted to be working with Celera, which decoded the human genome, to incorporate genetic testing that will allow our physicians to more readily identify patients who are at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and to determine the most appropriate form of treatment,” said Masood Akhtar, M.D., President of Aurora Cardiovascular Services. “We view this collaboration as an ideal matching of science and medicine that can greatly benefit our patients.”
“We’re pleased to collaborate with Aurora as one of the largest and most technologically advanced health care providers,” said Kathy Ordoñez, Chief Executive Officer of Celera. “We believe Aurora is the ideal partner to serve as the first Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular Genetics, as it has a commitment to best practices in cardiovascular treatment by incorporating the latest technology to improve patient care.”
Traditional cardiovascular assessment programs identify only a portion of individuals at risk for heart attacks. A number of factors are considered, such as family history, smoking, obesity, and cholesterol levels. Yet many people with normal or low cholesterol levels still have heart attacks. Genetic testing can help to take the guesswork out of diagnosis. And, when a patient is identified as a KIF6 carrier, it may provide an impetus to get his or her family to undergo genetic testing, which needs to be done only once in a lifetime.
Studies also show that a very high percentage of patients prescribed with statins do not stay on the drug5. Genetic testing to reveal carrier status is expected to help physicians educate patients about their risk and their need to continue taking appropriate medication.
“We believe this collaboration can help Aurora to fill the promise of personalized medicine for their physicians and their patients,” said H. Robert Superko, M.D., Vice President, Chief of Medical Affairs at Celera. “Studies have shown that genetic tests can reveal a substantial risk for heart disease independent of traditional heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Moreover, these tests can also identify patients who benefit the most from common heart disease treatments.”
About Aurora Health Care
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at 13 hospitals and more than 100 clinics throughout eastern Wisconsin. Aurora is affiliated with more than 3,400 physicians, including about 1,250 who are directly employed by the health care system.
Celera is a healthcare business delivering personalized disease management through a combination of products and services incorporating proprietary discoveries. Berkeley HeartLab, a subsidiary of Celera, offers services to predict cardiovascular disease risk and improve patient management. Celera also commercializes a wide range of molecular diagnostic products through Abbott and has licensed other relevant diagnostic technologies developed to provide personalized disease management in cancer and liver diseases. Information about Celera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at http://www.celera.com.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking. These may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as “believe,” “expect,” “will,” “should,” “anticipate,” “may,” “could,” “can,” and “intend,” among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Celera’s current expectations. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a “safe harbor” for such forward-looking statements. In order to comply with the terms of the safe harbor, Celera notes that a variety of factors could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties that may affect the operations, performance, development, and results of our business include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties that: (1) the risk that the collaboration activities and testing services contemplated by Celera and Aurora will not materialize as anticipated; (2) the agreement may be terminated; and (3) uncertainty that these genetic services will be accepted and adopted by the market, including the risk that these services will not be competitive with services offered by other companies, or that users will not be entitled to receive adequate reimbursement for these services from third party payors such as private insurance companies and government insurance plans. The foregoing list sets forth some, but not all, of the factors that could affect Celera's ability to achieve results described in any forward-looking statements. For additional information about the risks and uncertainties that Celera faces and a discussion of its financial statements and footnotes, see documents filed by Celera with the SEC, including its transition report on Form 10-KT and all subsequent periodic reports. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Celera does not undertake any duty to update this information, including any forward-looking statements, unless required by law.
Copyright© 2009. Celera Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Celera is a registered trademark of Celera Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or certain other countries.
1. Iakoubova OA et al. (2008) Association of the Trp719Arg polymorphism in kinesin-like protein 6 with myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease in 2 prospective trials: the CARE and WOSCOPS trials. J Am Coll Cardiol. 51(4):435-43.
2. Iakoubova OA et al. (2008) Polymorphism in KIF6 gene and benefit from statins after acute coronary syndromes: results from the PROVE IT-TIMI 22 study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 51(4):449-55.
3. Shiffman D et al. (2008) Association of gene variants with incident myocardial infarction in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 28(1):173-9.
4. Shiffman D et al. (2008) A kinesin family member 6 variant is associated with coronary heart disease in the Women's Health Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 51(4):444-8.
5. ATP III. Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III) final report. Circulation. 2002;106:3143-3421.
David Speechly, Ph.D.