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Healthcare

Avera partners with biotech company on cancer research

avera-prarie-center-2022
Slater Dixon
/
SDPB
The Avera McKennan Prairie Center in Sioux Falls houses the hospital's cancer institute.

An Avera Health study aims to use genetic data to improve the detection and treatment of cancer. The study is in collaboration with biotechnology company Sema4. It will include up to 3,000 patients each year over a total of five years. Participants include cancer patients at various stages, as well as patients at risk of cancer.

“Avera has been dedicated to innovation in cancer care. We are confident this study will build off… a strong foundation and benefit the health of thousands of patients in our community now and in the future,” said Casey Williams, Avera’s Executive Director of Cancer Research.

Cancer treatment at Avera already incorporates precision oncology, a process that involves genetically sequencing tumors. The hospital’s partnership with Sema4 gives it access to the firm’s massive dataset of genetic data and health records. The Sema4 platform analyzes this aggregate dataset to help make better clinical decisions about individual patients, such as which tests and treatments to pursue.

Sema4 will provide genetic testing for participants in the study. Patients will contribute their data to the study, while their treatment is informed by insights gleaned from the platform. According to an Avera press release, Sema4’s platform, Centrellis, only uses “consented health records.”