Clinical trial leads to blood test for breast cancer

This piece is presented by Avera.

 A simple blood test – when used with imaging – now can improve breast cancer detection and substantially reduce unnecessary biopsies.

Called Videssa Breast, this new protein-based blood test can provide early and accurate detection of breast cancer. And it began with a clinical trial at Avera – the only site in the Midwest chosen to participate.

“The results tell us that this test is extremely effective in ruling out breast cancer,” said Dr. Josie Alpers, the director of mammography at Avera Breast Center, primary investigator and study co-author. “After an abnormal mammogram, this is exactly what women need to know. Videssa allows us to confidently give women assurance that they do not have breast cancer or advise them that they should have further testing, such as biopsy.”

After completion of the clinical study, Avera Cancer Institute was chosen to provide early access to this test and continues to offer it in day-to-day breast cancer diagnostic care.

“We’ve already helped numerous women through the use of this test in everyday practice, either by giving them peace of mind or by quickly moving ahead to biopsy and diagnosing breast cancer as soon as possible in order to begin treatment,” said Dr. Tricia Merrigan, an Avera Medical Group breast surgeon.

Videssa is the type of groundbreaking treatment that can enter the market following a successful clinical trial. 

Avera Cancer Institute offers a variety of clinical trials for cancer prevention, screening and diagnosis; symptoms and side effects; and the latest treatment options, including immunotherapy.

Avera also is the only cancer center in South Dakota to offer trials for bone marrow transplant, electron-based intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) for breast cancer; Avera investigator-initiated genomic therapy trials for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and metastatic solid tumors; and the GRAIL blood test for cancer screening.

“Clinical trials are very important,” said Dr. Luis Rojas a gynecologic oncologist at Avera Cancer Institute.

“The best way to describe their importance is to say that if I ever get cancer, I’ll participate in a clinical trial if I can. They open new doors of treatment options to the patients. They also provide the information needed to forward the field of cancer treatment. The reason we’re more effective at treating cancer today is because of clinical trials that took place 10 to 20 years ago.”

Cancer patients who are willing to participate in a clinical trial always receive at least the current gold standard of care. Any investigational drugs or placebos that are part of the study are added to the standard-of-care regimen – not as a replacement for the standard of care.

As with treatment of any kind, clinical trials offer hope but no guarantee. That’s why it’s important to learn as much as you can about becoming a participant.

However, one thing you can count on is the fact that your participation will benefit future patients by advancing health care research.

“Our clinical trial patients are absolutely remarkable,” said Cheryl Ageton, a registered nurse and cancer research manager at Avera Research Institute. “We often hear them say, ‘If this will help somebody else, I’m happy to do it.’ Their selflessness during such a difficult time is amazing.”

Learn more about cancer research and clinical trials available at Avera Cancer Institute.

Clinical trial leads to blood test for breast cancer

A simple blood test – when used with imaging – now can improve breast cancer detection and substantially reduce unnecessary biopsies.

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