The Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at Nicklaus Children's Hospital provides access to comprehensive genetic education, genetic counseling services and affordable genetic screenings for individuals in Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland who may be at risk of being carriers of a gene mutation for at least one of the PREVENTABLE JEWISH GENETIC DISEASES ON OUR EXPANDED PANEL.
The Nicklaus Children's Hospital Personalized Medicine Initiative is the umbrella which houses the Victor Center, a longtime leader in preconception screening. The Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases enables families to get the genetic testing and counseling they need to understand their genetic risks.
What is a genetic screening?
Genetic screening is a process in which, through a simple saliva or blood test, a person’s genes are examined for changes, called mutations, in specific genes. Genetic screening is used to determine whether an individual or couple is at increased risk to have a baby with a hereditary disorder by passing on a gene mutation to their offspring. The Victor Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital currently screens for over 200 genetic disorders.
Who should consider genetic screening?
Carriers of a gene mutation are healthy individuals. Being a carrier does not mean you have the genetic disease. However, being a carrier does mean that either parent can pass the gene mutation onto their children, making it important to screen both prospective parents.
Individuals who fall into one or more of the following categories should consider genetic testing:
- Young adults of reproductive age (18-44)
- Engaged couples, newlywed couples
- Interfaith couples
- Anyone who is adopted and their ancestry is unknown
- LGBTQ couples along with sperm and/or egg donor
- If you are already pregnant – both partners need to be tested immediately if screening was not already provided from your OB/GYN or physician.
What are the chances that I am a carrier for a genetic disease?
1 in 2 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier for at least one “Jewish” genetic disease. Our newly expanded panel consists of more than 200 genetic diseases, and includes those that are commonly found in Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrachi Jews as well as people other ethnicities. Our screening platform uses a method called sequencing, unlike our former platform of targeted mutations. A few disorders on our panel are not sequenced but use another type of analysis due to the structure of the gene.
What kind of genetic screening should I do?
Advances in genetic technology have led to significant changes in genetic screening and screening panels. Ethnic background and insurance coverage may have a bearing on your screening options. The genetics professionals of the Victor Center can provide you with the information you need to make health decisions for you and your family’s future.
Where can I get screened?
The Victor Center provides full service genetic counseling and screening to all interested individuals and couples. We can provide these services through the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital main campus, outpatient centers such as Midtown or Aventura, or through community screening events. We can also offer virtual counseling and screening that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
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Genetic screening cost
Many insurance providers cover preconception screening although coverage and costs to you can vary depending on your plan. (e.g., your lab, deductible and co-insurance requirements). Speak with our genetic counselor for more details by calling us today at 786-624-2671.
Genetic counseling helps individuals, couples or families understand their genetic risk by taking a family history and discussing details of preconception genetic testing. Genetic counselors explain any risks associated with the testing; which diseases are tested; their mode of inheritance; and the implications of results for reproductive options and the health of extended family. Genetic counselors help individuals make informed decisions about family planning. If both are found to be carriers for the same disease, there are many reproductive options available. Genetic counseling is recommended as an integral part of this process.
Rare Diseases Day (February 28): How Nicklaus Children's Makes a Difference
Rare Disease Day, which takes place annually on the last day of February, was established to raise awareness among the general public, policymakers and professionals, about rare diseases and their impact on patient lives. Nicklaus Children’s is committed to supporting families of children with rare diseases as well as those at risk of having a child with a genetic disorder.
Project Baby Manatee
Nicklaus Children’s is one of the first hospitals in the country to pilot rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) as the new standard of care. Thanks to Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation and Florida State Appropriation, and in collaboration with Rady Children’s Hospital, Nicklaus Children’s provides this cutting-edge technology to patients in need. rWGS offers hope to families of critically ill children with undiagnosed diseases, who would usually go on “diagnostic odyssey”. About half of participating patients have receiveda final diagnosis based on the sequencing results, as well as modification of the treatment as a result of the rWGS. In all cases, diagnosed conditions were the result of rare, and frequently newly discovered genetic mutations that might not have been detected by other technologies.