Philadelphia Victor Center Conducts Community-Wide Screening for 19 Preventable Jewish Genetic Diseases
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — On February 20, 2012, the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia will conduct a community-wide screening for potential carriers of 19 Jewish genetic diseases from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at MossRehab at the Marketplace Design Center, located at 2400 Market Street in Philadelphia. The maximum out-of-pocket cost for insured individuals screened is $25, a significant fee reduction from prior screenings. Individuals must be pre-registered at www.victorcenters.org/screening and those without insurance may contact Faye Shapiro, MS, CGC, Victor Center Genetic Counselor at 877-401-1093 or ShapiroF@einstein.edu.
At the last Victor Center screening in November 2011, a total of 176 persons were screened and 42 were identified as carriers of a disease. For Jewish individuals of Central and Eastern European descent from countries such as Poland, Russia, Germany, Austria, and Lithuania, the potential danger is particularly great, since one in five of these Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier for at least one of 19 different genetic diseases which strike in childhood, have no cure, and some may lead to early death.
A simple blood test is all that is necessary to screen for the current Jewish genetic disease panel of 19. The Victor Center recommends that all at-risk individuals — including interfaith couples — should be screened, with the Jewish partner being screened first. Individuals with one or more Jewish grandparents are considered at risk. Couples should be screened prior to each pregnancy for any new diseases, since with advances in testing, the list of known genetic diseases is constantly being expanded.
The Victor Center was founded by Lois Victor, who herself lost two children to a Jewish genetic disease and was determined to help spare other families the same heartbreak. Just as a grass-roots community campaign for Tay-Sachs disease has been successful in reducing the incidence of that disease by 90 percent in the Ashkenazi Jewish population through public education and screening, the Victor Center advocates screen for all Jewish genetic diseases, raising public awareness that a simple blood test could prevent a family tragedy.
Media Contact: Jill Cohen – 212-721-4720 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia