New genetic testing clinic opens next week at Prince of Wales Hospital
The Chinese University's outpatient genetic clinic set up in collaboration with a US medical school will open next week to train more experts and provide a wider range of tests.
The clinic at the Prince of Wales Hospital will offer consultation services and diagnosis for genetic diseases such as growth disorders and autism.
A Chinese University obstetrics and gynaecology professor, Leung Tak-yeung, said: "If you have a disease which you suspect is inherited, you can come to us. For those not suffering from any problems but are worried they may carry a disease gene, they can have a preliminary assessment and see whether they need a consultation."
Because of limited capacity, the public health system currently offers genetic tests only to pregnant women with a family history of such diseases and children with common genetic conditions like Down's syndrome.
An expert review commissioned by the Hospital Authority earlier this year found that clinical genetic services were overloaded because of a shortage of qualified geneticists.
Experts from the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas will visit the new clinic regularly and train two to three local doctors a year. The US medical school will also conduct tests for less common genetic diseases on samples from clinic patients.
The clinic will accept four patients a week, each to be charged HK$1,000 for a one-hour consultation. Other fees will be charged if further tests are needed.
The university hoped to expand the service as demand increased and to provide tests for cancer-related genetic defects in future, Leung said.
He said the tests results may help people in making decisions such as by showing their risk of having an affected child.