News Release

NorthShore University HealthSystem, Ambry Genetics announce new prostate cancer risk test

Business Announcement

NorthShore University HealthSystem

Brian Helfand, MD, PhD

image: Brian Helfand, MD, PhD, a urologist with NorthShore's Center for Personalized Medicine. view more 

Credit: Jon Hillenbrand

(Evanston, IL) - September 25, 2018 - NorthShore University HealthSystem's (NorthShore) Center for Personalized Medicine and Ambry Genetics Corporation (Ambry), announced today the launch of AmbryScore for prostate cancer risk.

AmbryScore is the first commercially available polygenic risk score designed to estimate a man's individualized risk for prostate cancer. The test provides a prostate cancer risk assessment calculation based on the combined effects of 72-prostate cancer-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Knowing an individual's prostate cancer risk allows for earlier intervention through screening, preventative, and diagnostic measures aimed at early detection, which has been shown to improve patient outcomes.

The American Cancer Society estimates in 2018 there will be nearly 165,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed and 30,000 deaths from the disease, indicating the need for better tools to aid in early intervention.

The test is ordered through an individual's healthcare provider, where a sample is collected with the option to select the test as an add-on to select hereditary cancer panels. Due to the population-specific nature of SNPs, a patient must be of Northern European ancestry to be eligible for the test.

Originally developed by NorthShore researcher Jianfeng Xu, DrPH, the test is designed to provide physicians, including urologists, with a quantitative tool to better recognize the risk of prostate cancer. The test was validated in research conducted by William Isaacs, Ph.D., professor of urology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and will be published at the American Society Human Genetics Annual Meeting this October.

"Implementing the test into our practice helps us understand and identify risk, which ultimately will help our patients as well as their families who may be at risk," said Brian Helfand, MD, PhD, a urologist with NorthShore's Center for Personalized Medicine, one of the most comprehensive personalized medicine programs in the country spanning genetic testing, counseling, and clinical prevention and treatment planning. "The test is truly life-changing for patients and their family members, who now have an opportunity to take control of their health by choosing to screen for select gene mutations and variations well before traditional diagnostic testing could offer actionable results," added Helfand.

NorthShore and Ambry announced in September 2017 that they would collaborate to focus on bringing to market genetic tests aimed at saving lives and improving patients' health. Previously, they also jointly announced the release of AmbryScore for breast cancer in 2018. AmbryScore for breast cancer combines clinical and family history information with 100 breast-cancer associated SNPs to provide a remaining lifetime breast cancer risk estimate to health care providers for eligible women who pursue multigene panel tests.

"We are excited about our continued collaboration with NorthShore," stated Brigette Tippin Davis Ph.D., FACMG, Sr. Vice President, Ambry Genetics. "Through clinical partnerships like this, we can bring innovative tests to patients and better understand disease outcomes related to genetics. After launching AmbryScore for breast cancer in March of 2018, we are especially pleased to now offer this test for prostate cancer."


About NorthShore University HealthSystem

NorthShore University HealthSystem is an integrated healthcare delivery system consistently ranked as a Top 15 Teaching Hospital in the U.S. The NorthShore system, headquartered in Evanston, IL, includes four hospitals - Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park and Skokie. NorthShore also includes a 900-physician multispecialty group practice, NorthShore Medical Group, located in over 100 locations in the Chicagoland area. NorthShore is a Magnet recognized organization, the first in Illinois to receive this prestigious honor as an entire system that demonstrates excellence in nursing and high standards in patient care. The system also supports the NorthShore Research Institute; the NorthShore Foundation; and the NorthShore Home & Hospice Services. In addition to launching Be Well Lake County, a community health initiative committed to providing greater access to comprehensive care, NorthShore contributes more than $210 million in charitable care and services to the communities it serves.

About Ambry

Ambry is both College of American Pathologists (CAP)-accredited and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified. Ambry is an established leader in clinical genetic diagnostics and genetics software solutions, combining both to offer the most comprehensive testing menu in the industry. Ambry has established a reputation for sharing data while safeguarding patient privacy, unparalleled service, and responsibly applying new technologies to the clinical molecular diagnostics market. For more information about Ambry, visit

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