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U. Medical School head cites Angelina Jolie before Congress

Published March 25, 2014 8:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • The dean of the University of Utah's School of Medicine told Congress on Tuesday that sustainable funding for medical research saves lives, citing a test that helps detect breast-cancer risk.

Vivian Lee, a senior vice president for the U.'s health sciences and the CEO of University of Utah Health Care, asked a House Appropriations subcommittee to fund at least $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health in the coming fiscal year to help research schools like hers continue life-saving work.

Lee cited the Utah Genome Project — which studies families in the state known for its genealogical interest — as an example of how such funding can benefit public health.

Case in point: Angelina Jolie.

The famous movie actress had a double mastectomy after discovering she carried a gene — which U. researchers helped identify and sequence — that put her at risk for breast cancer like her mother had.

"This discovery has saved thousands of lives and changed how providers and patients, like Jolie, treat and prevent breast cancer worldwide," Lee testified Tuesday.