Specialised NHS genetic services have developed in the UK as regional centres of expertise, and in the northern region these are co-ordinated through the Northern Genetics Service.
The Northern Genetics Service helps to diagnose conditions and disorders caused by genetic problems for people living across the whole of the North East and Cumbria. Clinics are held in Newcastle, Carlisle, Sunderland and various locations around County Durham, Teesside and part of North Yorkshire, in addition to telephone and telemedicine appointments.
Many of our genetic experts here in the North East are nationally and internationally renowned for their pioneering work, with global reputations for both prevalent conditions and cancers, and much more rare diseases.
By working in close collaboration, clinicians, scientists and researchers from the Northern Genetic Service and Newcastle University’s Institute of Genetic Medicine are spearheading potentially life-changing translational research programmes (from bench to bedside) to better understand our genetic make-up and its links to our health.
For example, our kidney experts host The National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre which specialises in the treatment of patients with atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G). You can find out more on their website:National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre
Disorders caused by underlying genetic problems can include:
- chromosomal abnormalities which may be associated with problems in either individual development and/or familial reproductive problems
- single gene disorders such as muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease and cystic fibrosis
- familial cancer and cancer-prone syndromes such as inherited breast or colorectal cancer
- birth defects and/or learning disabilities with a genetic component.
What we do
Most of the medical conditions we see are rare inherited conditions (congenital). We seek to explain why an inherited condition has happened, whether it could happen again and what can be done about it.
To help us find out more we carry out a range of genetic tests testing – sometimes called genomic testing – and other diagnostic investigations.
This may be to help diagnose a congenital abnormality, issues with growth or development in childhood.
We oversee prenatal diagnosis for genetic conditions known to run in the family, help to explain fetal abnormality, either on genetic testing or ultrasound scans and undertake risk assessment in people with a strong family history of cancer.
When a diagnosis has been made, our team of experts offer advice on the management of the many different genetic conditions that can arise. These can include conditions affecting the brain, eye, lung, heart, blood vessels, kidney, skeleton, joints, kidneys and many more.
We help people to understand their family history of a genetic condition and clarify their own risks as well as offering testing for carrier status of single gene or chromosomal conditions. Tests include predictive gene testing (before any symptoms have become apparent).
Our nurse specialists and counsellors provide support for people and families going through this process, and all other forms of genetic testing.
Being referred to our services
You need to be referred for genetic testing by a doctor. You will generally only be referred if you have a suspected genetic health condition or if you have a particular type of cancer.
You can find out more about the referral process and the many specialist facilities that underpin our outstanding genetic services here:Newcastle Laboratories website
Northern Genetics Service
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Institute of Genetic Medicine
International Centre for Life
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 0191 241 8600