As we age, as many as 10 to 30 percent of us spontaneously carry mutations in our blood cells that put us at risk for blood cancers and heart disease. Researchers at OHSU are leading a unique study for women aged 65 and older called WEAR, or Women Engaged in Advancing Research, to collect health and genetic data that may one day enable them to identify and prevent these often-fatal diseases.
Women across Oregon are participating for a variety of reasons.
“This is an easy way to be involved, and to give back the kinds of benefits that I’ve had in my lifetime, as well as my children, my grandchildren and great grand-children. I want to pass it forward,” said Carolyn Tomei, of Milwaukie, who served in the Oregon House of Representatives for more than 14 years, in addition to serving as chairwoman for the House Human Services Committee. “These kind of studies behoove the states not just now, but in many, many years to come.”
The study is looking for women with no history of cancer to give blood one or two times a year for 10 years. By mid-September, researchers had enrolled 1,000 participants; the goal is to enroll as many as 4,000 women across Oregon and Southwest Washington.
The study’s lead investigators are Kim-Hien Dao, D.O., Ph.D., of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and Maros Ferencik, M.D., Ph.D. of the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute.
This work is funded by the Anna Fuller Foundation, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Collins Medical Trust and the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.