Gene Machine part of Relay

Published 2:30 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

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When people participate in Relay For Life this weekend, they’ll have the chance to be screened for several types of cancer risks as part of a study.

The Gene Machine as it’s called will be on hand during Relay For Life at the Butler County Fairgrounds Saturday.

“Dr. Nancy Memer, a researcher at Auburn University, is doing research about the genetics of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer,” Relay Event Lead for Butler County Gerri McGinnis said. “She looks for genetic risk factors that increase one’s risk of developing those diseases. Part of this research is screening and it’s free. It’s the first time we’ve had it. It’s exciting to offer it.”

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According to Betsy Stallworth, the recruitment coordinator, Dr. Memer has approved protocols to recruit study participants. In addition to hospital-based recruitment (through East Alabama Medical Center), she has established community-based recruitment. This allows team members to engage communities and recruit individuals who are affected by cancer.

“By participating in the study, a participant is given the option to receive research genetic screening results,” Stallworth said in a letter. “This is extremely important since clinical services such as genetic testing and counseling are normally inaccessible to the medically underserved, but known to save lives.”

Those that wish to be notified if they have a cancer-predisposing mutation will be provided the opportunity for telemedicine genetic counseling through partnerships with UAB and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The Gene Machine can’t be missed as it’s a pink former university shuttle bus that hit the road in 2017.

“It’s so exciting for us to be able to have it here in Butler County,” McGinnis concluded.  “We hope people will take the time to visit during Relay For Life.”

Relay For Life begins at 2 p.m. Saturday and lasts until 10 p.m.  at the Butler County Fairgrounds in Greenville.