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FILE - This Feb. 26, 2012 file photo shows actress Angelina Jolie at the 84th Academy Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. Jolie says that she has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast cancer. The Oscar-winning actress and partner to Brad Pitt made the announcement in an op-ed she authored for Tuesday's New York Times under the headline, "My Medical Choice." She writes that between early February and late April she completed three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file)
U. Medical School head cites Angelina Jolie before Congress

First Published Mar 25 2014 02:28 pm • Last Updated Mar 26 2014 07:52 am

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.

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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.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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