Issues surrounding genetic medicine and the Jewish population to be explored at conference

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 15, 1999) -- What if you learned you had a genetic susceptibility to cancer or another potentially life-threatening disease? Would you pursue a course of preventive treatment? What if your family members were at risk? Should they also be tested? Could you possibly face discrimination from employers or insurers?

These are just a few of the questions to be explored at "Genetic Medicine and the Jewish Population: Clinical, Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Issues," a free community conference hosted for the first time by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Oct. 24 in the Harvey Morse Auditorium. Registration starts at 8 a.m., and the conference and panel discussions begin at 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day. A complimentary kosher lunch will be served.

Continuing advances in genetic testing and medicine have opened the doors to important preventive strategies and, at the same time, raised issues related to how this knowledge may be used by health care consumers and the community at large.

"Over the last few years, we've seen much progress in the field of genetic research and prevention," said David L. Rimoin, M.D., Ph.D, Chair, Department of Pediatrics, and Director, Medical Genetics-Birth Defects Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "Some specific gene mutations are more common among people of Jewish ancestry, though no one population-Jewish or otherwise-has more mutations or genetic diseases. They're just distributed differently among different ethnic groups."

The purpose of the conference is to provide information on the historical, clinical, ethical, legal and social issues surrounding genetic medicine in the Jewish population. These issues will be addressed by experts in medicine, law and ethics as well as by individuals who have first-hand experience with these diseases. Audience members are encouraged to participate in the dialogue.

Conference presenters include Sen. Patrick Johnston, Chair, Senate Select Committee on Geneti

Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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