August 2023: Levi, Elkon, and Shamir: Computational model promises genetics-based breast cancer screening
Hagai Levi, Edmond J. Safra PhD fellow, Prof. Rani Elkon, and Prof. Ron Shamir have developed a computational model that makes it possible to predict each woman’s genetic risk of developing breast cancer based on her genetic profile.
Hagai Levi, Edmond J. Safra PhD fellow (Computer Science), Prof. Rani Elkon (Medicine) and Prof. Ron Shamir (Computer Science), Edmond J. Safra members, have developed a model that will enable, for the first time in Israel, the determination of a personal risk score for breast cancer based on an individual’s genetic profile.
The technique, which could form the basis for the implementation of a personalized early detection policy, has the potential to save lives and to enable a more efficient use of available health system’s resources.
The research was based on a large-scale international study that included genomic data for about a quarter of a million women with and without breast cancer, and its findings were then applied to about 2,000 Israeli women. This pioneering study focused on Israeli women of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, which is the population closest genetically to the participants of the international study.
The team has started a follow-up study aiming at building breast cancer genetic risk models for women of all ethnicities in Israel.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women around the world, after lung cancer. While steadily on the decline over the past several decades, the chances are that 1 of 39 women, or 2.5%, will succumb to the disease.