Manchester plays host to international genetics network

May 16, 2006

Manchester is hosting an international conference on genetic counselling, with 75 delegates from professional organizations, universities and clinics all over the world, including countries such as France, Italy, India, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Cuba and the US.

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 genes mutated in syndromic deafness, in inherited blindness, in dental and skin disease, in birth defect syndromes and in cancer predisposing syndromes.

The Centre leads the national breast cancer trials and is by far the largest contributor to breast, ovary and bowel cancer studies and trials in the UK, entering more than twice as many patients as any other single centre. (Since the early 1990s it has been recognised that 5% of all cases of breast, ovary and bowel cancer can be due to the effect of inherited genes.)

Lauren Kerzin-Storrar, Consultant Genetic Counsellor and MSc Course Director for the Manchester Regional Genetic Service, said: "This field of medicine is much misunderstood so the advances need to be accompanied by increased access to expert genetic counselling to ensure that the human implications are dealt with appropriately. This conference will be looking at how genetic counsellors are being trained around the world."

She added: "The Manchester Regional Genetic Service was the first centre to offer a training programme for genetic counsellors in Europe - the MSc programme established in 1992, a University of Manchester and CMMC collaboration - and has since been a leader on genetic counseling education and training."

Conference Chair Professor Janice Edwards, of the University of South Carolina, said: "Our cooperative interchange will consider the profession in its quickly evolving international context, create sharing that will enhance our educational programs and foster the transnational development of the genetic counseling profession."

The agenda will allow delegates to learn from each other as they consider the global evolution of genetic counseling, explore training, accreditation and certification criteria between countries and share curricular resources and teaching strategies. It will create avenues for collaboration among international programs in education, student/faculty exchange and genetic counseling research and document the international status of genetic counselor education through publication of pre-conference research and the conference proceedings.

Keynote speaker Dr Geoffrey McLennan, of the University of the Iowa's Carver College of Medicine, said: "We will also explore the concept of the public good in the transnational context and in relation to the complex web of personal, political, religious, technological, institutional and national objectives that constitute the health care paradigm."
-end-
For more information contact Media Relations Officers Mikaela Sitford or Jo Nightingale on 0161 275 2111 or 8156.

Editors note:
More information about the International Genetic Counseling Education conference can be seen at http://igce.med.sc.edu/

The University of Manchester is Britain's largest single-site university with a proud history of achievement and an ambitious agenda for the future to become one of the top 25 universities in the world by 2015. Its Medical Genetics Centre is part of the Division of Human Development and Reproduction at the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences. The Division is one of the largest within the School of Medicine, with around 200 employees. It is a successful centre of postgraduate teaching and research and achieved a 5* rating in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. Its research covers a broad range of interests in human development including genetics, pregnancy (implantation/fertilisation, placental biology) peri/neo-natology, childhood growth and development, paediatric oncology and immunology, reproductive medicine and women's health, and eye development and disease.

The Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust (CMMC) aims to provide all users and staff a quality service which strives to meet the best standards of professional care, that is sensitive and responsive to their individual needs. The Trust aim is to be innovative in the treatment provided and in the environment. It has an outstanding reputation as an international medical centre of excellence and is closely linked to the University of Manchester Medical School. It includes the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), Saint Mary's Hospital for Women & Children, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, The University Dental Hospital of Manchester and Booth Hall Children's Hospital.

University of Manchester

Related Bowel Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Immunotherapy for bowel cancer could change clinical practice
A large international trial involving UCL and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) has found that pembrolizumab, a form of immunotherapy, more than doubled the 'progression free survival' time of patients with a specific subtype of advanced bowel cancer, when compared with chemotherapy.

Shorter radiotherapy treatment for bowel cancer patients during COVID-19
An international panel of cancer experts has recommended a one-week course of radiotherapy and delaying surgery as the best way to treat patients with bowel cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dramatic increase in bowel cancer in young adults in England
There has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of bowel cancer in adults under the age of 50, according to new research from the University of Bristol, UWE Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol).

Genetic 'fingerprints' implicate gut bacterium in bowel cancer
A common type of bacteria found in our guts could contribute to bowel cancer, according to research funded by a £20 million Cancer Research UK Grand Challenge award and published in Nature today (Thursday).

Bowel cancer rates after colonoscopy vary by provider
A colonoscopy is the main test used to detect bowel cancer, but like most tests, it is not always 100% accurate and cancers can be missed.

Researchers identify certain gut bacteria that may be involved in causing bowel cancer
People who have a certain type of bacteria in their guts may be at greater risk of developing bowel cancer, according to research presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference.

Experts advise against routine bowel cancer testing for all over-50s
Routine testing for bowel cancer should not be recommended for everyone aged 50-79 years because, for those at very low risk, the benefit is small and uncertain and there are potential harms, say a panel of international experts in The BMJ today.

Here's proof that bowel cancer screening reduces deaths
New research led by the University of South Australia shows just how effective bowel cancer screening is in helping to reduce the number of bowel cancer deaths by up to 45%.

Antibiotic use linked to heightened bowel cancer risk
Antibiotic use (pills/capsules) is linked to a heightened risk of bowel (colon) cancer, but a lower risk of rectal cancer, and depends, to some extent, on the type and class of drug prescribed, suggests research published online in the journal Gut.

Bowel cancer rising among young adults in Europe
The rate of bowel cancer -- otherwise known as colorectal cancer or CRC -- is rising among adults aged 20-49 in Europe, suggests research published online in the journal Gut today.

Read More: Bowel Cancer News and Bowel Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.