The International Genetic Counselling Education conference, from 15-17 May 2006, comes as the debate around medical genetics takes another turn with the UK fertility watchdog backing wider screening. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which licenses clinics to use the technique, has approved the extension of embryo gene screening to cover breast cancer, ovarian cancer and a type of colon cancer. Carrying the single genes associated with the diseases concerned gives an 80 per cent risk of developing them.
Disability campaigners and pro-life groups fear the possibility of pre-natal selection. However Baroness Ruth Deech, former chair of the HFEA, said controls in the UK were tight and dismissed fears that a relaxation of the regulations would lead to selection of embryos on social factors.
The Manchester Regional Genetics Service, the joint University of Manchester and Central Manchester & Manchester Children's University Hospital Trust (CMMC) organisation which is hosting the conference, carries out scientific research in genetic testing, providing answers to our greatest health problems and a service to 5M people in the North West, and addresses the issues surrounding genetics for the benefit of patients and society.
Founded in the 1960s in response to the emerging knowledge about genetics and the demand for clinical and diagnostic services, the Centre consisted of just a laboratory and clinic and offered simple tests and limited genetic counselling. Now it has a vibrant group of over 200 academic and NHS staff who have identified more than 25 important genes linked to genetic diseases through their painstaking research. They include the gen
Contact: Mikaela Sitford
University of Manchester