Gene Secrets – Last year, award-winning director Adam Wishart’s mother died of a cancer that she seemed to have inherited from her mother. He set out to discover if he also had this familial cancer gene – or any other gene that might impact on his health. To understand why it is important to know, Adam meets other patients who have already discovered they have bad genes. Julie’s mother and sister have both suffered from cancer, and she is facing the terrible choice of having a double mastectomy to prevent her from going the same way.
One of the most extraordinary benefits of the brave new world of genetics is called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Tracy and Thomas are in the midst of the process, screening embryos in order to prevent a gene mistake being passed down the generations. Will the wonder of science deliver a healthy baby?
A few hundred couples go through PGD every year on the NHS, but there are millions of people in Britain with diseased genes: is the NHS serving them? Wishart reveals that if the NHS screened the relatives of patients with a disease called Familial Hypocholesterolemia then the nation could save thousands of people from suffering, and money which could be diverted to other patients in need.
Producer: BBC Productions, Bristol
TX: Summer / Autumn 2011