Advent Health, a faith-based, non-profit healthcare system based in Florida within facilities in nine states across the United States, is now offering free DNA testing services for Floridians. The largest Protestant health care provider and one of the largest non-profit health providers in the U.S., the DNA test screens for an inherited condition that can lead to high cholesterol and heart attacks if left untreated.
Called the “WholeMe” program, the data gathered will be used for other research purposes as the health system grows its newly minted genomics program.
Advent Health is partnering with Helix, a personal genomics company, for the WholeMe program. A first-of-its-kind study in Florida, WholeMe participants will learn about traits that may impact daily life, such as lactose tolerance, caffeine metabolism and sweet tooth. The DNA will also be evaluated for the genes linked to familial hypercholesterolemia, known as FH—a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol. If left untreated, it can lead to a heart attack, even in young adults.
Those that are identified with FH will receive a complementary confirmatory blood test and one session with a genetic counselor. In addition, they will be connected with one of Advent Health’s cardiologists to ensure preventative measures can be taken to benefit their health.
Their research team seeks to showcase how genomics can be successfully integrated into health care to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases and empower consumers with potential life-saving information about their health.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder characterized by high cholesterol levels, specifically very high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, “bad cholesterol”), in the blood and early cardiovascular disease. Since the underlying body biochemistry is slightly different in individuals with FH, their high cholesterol levels are less responsive to the kinds of cholesterol control methods which are usually more effective in people without FH (such as dietary modification and statin tablets). Nevertheless, treatment (including higher statin doses) is usually effective. The prevalence in the U.S. is estimated to be 1:500.
Advent Health Clinical research
Advent Health, a major health provider in the United States, maintains an active clinical research program. Key research institutes play a vital role in Advent Health’s care options. Clinical trials stretch across eight Advent Health Florida campuses. Institutes include:
- Global Robotics Institute
- Functional Brain Mapping and Brain Computer Interface Lab
- Neuroscience Institute Brain Attack Cent
- D Kiran C. Patel Research Institute
- Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (54,000 square foot center dedicated to study of obesity)