Utah Genetics in the News

A feature article in the Salt Lake Tribune tells the story of the Scalley Family who have a type of cancer call Lynch Syndrome, and how the Utah Population Database has helped them and many other Utahns.

Live in Utah? You're Likely in One of the World's Largest Genetic Databases

by Alex Stuckey

Lisa Callister walked into LDS Hospital in 2012 for a routine colonoscopy. She walked out knowing a tumor had been growing unchecked in her colon for about six years.

She battled for more than a year as colon cancer ravaged her body. Doctors had to remove the entire organ.

But the ordeal might have been avoided, Callister said, if she had previously known that she had Lynch Syndrome, an inherited disorder that increases the risk of many cancers. The gene runs in her family, but Callister, her sister, Emily Scalley, and their siblings had not been tested.

Now, the sisters get yearly colonoscopies. They also have their children tested for the gene when they enter their teenage years. So far, two of the six kids between them have the gene.

"We just feel like this knowledge is power and it gives us an edge to be ahead of the game so we don't have to go through what Lisa did," Scalley said.

Callister and Scalley's large, extended family is cataloged in the Utah Population Database, a collection of information ­— from driver license data to divorce decrees to family histories — on millions of individuals with Utah connections.

Read more

See also

Utah Genetics Rearchers Looking for DNA-level Disease Causes (KSL)