International Center for VCFS Diagnosis, Treatment, & Study: A Bridge to Peace
One baby every three hours is born in the U.S. with Velo-cardio-facial-syndrome (VCFS.) It is the most common and most serious genetic birth syndrome, after Down’s syndrome, and yet most people have never heard of it. The International Center for Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome is working to change that with a strategic campaign to educate the public that will kicked off with a gala and luxury auction in Washington, DC, June 13, 2007. The public needs to know about this potentially fatal syndrome. Approximately one person in 1,600 - 1,800 has VCFS. (VCFS is also known as Shprintzen’s syndrome, after Dr. Robert Shprintzen who discovered it in 1978, and is Director of the International Center.) The syndrome occurs when genetic material is missing on chromosome 22. In 1992 identification of the genetic deletion made genetic diagnostic testing possible for the first time.
The Mission of the International Center based at New York’s Upstate Medical University, and Schneider's Children's Medical Center, Israel, is to collaborate with preeminent centers, clinicians, and researchers from around the globe, to advance the diagnosis and treatment of VCFS. As a result of the Bridge to Peace initiative, patients worldwide will have access to state-of-the art care. DNA diagnostics, research, and patient studies are showing that VCFS causes at least 185 different physical and cognitive ailments, nearly ubiquitously, cardiac abnormalities, learning disabilities immune deficiency and cognitive and psychiatric illness in adolescents and adults.
Bridge to Peace at Schneider Children's Medical Center in Israel – unique in the Middle East - is an important partner in this collaboration. Twenty five percent of its VCFS patients are Arab from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Africa and Asia - reaffirming that medicine has no borders in providing compassionate and superior care to all.