The company is managed by a Board of Directors and the current President of the Board and CEO is Professor Constantinos Pangalos MD, DSc, Medical Geneticist-Pediatrician. Our services are provided by 4 independent departments and their respective scientific managers.
From its inception until today the section is a reference center, applying advanced methods of cytogenetic and molecular analysis for the diagnosis of genetic diseases. It provides karyotype analysis by standard and specialized techniques, both at the prenatal level, by studying amniotic cells and chorionic villi, and at the postnatal level through karyotype analysis of peripheral blood lymphocytes in children with multiple congenital anomalies, dysmorphic features, mental retardation and in families with reproductive problems and infertility. Moreover, the contribution of Molecular Genetics, which was historically incorporated later to the Division of Medical Genetics of InterGenetics, contributed decisively to the comprehensive study of these cases. Today we have the opportunity, through the integration of new genomic technologies, to provide complete solutions regarding various diagnostic problems of Genetics, equivalent to reputable international centers.
The cooperation between all Departments contribute to a better and more efficient integration of the clinical cases.
DEPARTMENT OF CLINICAL GENETICS AND GENETIC COUNSELING
In every well organized genetics center, laboratory diagnostic testing is supported by clinical genetics. The department provides:
- genetic counseling,
- evaluation of teratogens in pregnancy,
- clinical genetic examination and evaluation as well as
- follow-up of patients with genetic disorders
The department of Clinical Genetics and Genetic Counseling aims to identify, aid in the understanding and to address cases of individuals with a genetic problem. Moreover, in the case of a disease with a recurrence risk, we provide family genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis. Careful and thorough recording of family history is followed by the creation of a family tree, which will aid in determining the mode of disease transmission. Particular experience is required, so that the clinical geneticist may isolate the facts from the myths which prevail in the family. There are instances where photographs of the parents may be sought to ensure the objective truth and to clarify which of the clinical signs identified in the child may be familial and which what features should be finally assessed.
Furthermore, the department evaluates from the outset every clinical laboratory test individually in relation to the clinical data, as well as upon its completion, always in collaboration with the referring doctor, so that the result may contribute to the best possible treatment of the subject’s disorder.
Moreover, in the context of genetic counseling regarding the action of teratogenic agents during pregnancy, the data are assessed and evaluated on-line with the aid of specialized software and dedicated databases, as well as through our own available literature and resources for the action of medications, chemicals, radiation and infectious agents.
During its many years of operation, the department has examined ~7,500 cases of families with possible genetic disorders and has provided suitable guidance for their management and prevention.
For more detailed evaluation of the patients, the department collaborates with a network of physicians of different specialties, while testing for rare genetic disorders is made possible through established collaborations with specialized genetics centers worldwide.
DEPARTMENT OF MOLECULAR GENETICS AND GENOMICS
An extensive array of diagnostic tests has been developed, utilizing a variety of modern techniques, for the diagnosis of gene disorders in adults as well as in prenatal samples and for preimplantation genetic diagnosis, such as thalassemias, cystic fibrosis, a variety of neurogenetic disorders, hereditary hearing loss, mental retardation, cancers and leukaemias, molecular microbiology, paternity and genetic identity testing (DNA profiling), etc.
The department has a significant know-how, which has contributed to its fast and continuous growth as well as experience, having processed >175,000 cases.
Its ongoing research and development (R&D), has led to important and innovative applications, such as the extended prenatal panel (EPP), extended testing for cystic fibrosis, screening of the F508del and 35delG mutations from dry blood samples, preimplantation genetic diagnosis for rare genetic diseases, preimplantation genetic diagnosis for chromosomal disorders through aCGH, preimplantation genetic diagnosis for gene disordres coupled to HLA matching, analysis of complex genetic identity cases, predictive genetics, prenatal and postnatal molecular karyotype (microarray CGH) etc.
Finally, a major step has been the recent introduction and application since 2011 of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and genomic analyses, which have been implemented for the first time in Greece by our group.
The Molecular Genetics and Genomics laboratories are equipped, among others, with 2 automated DNA sequencers, 7 PCR machines, a robotic station, a high resolution melting curve analysis system and a microarray CGH analysis platform. The latest acquisition has been the installation of a Genome Analyzer – Ion Proton NGS platform, permitting the in-house execution of various NGS tests, including Whole Exome Sequencing applications.
For the special requirements of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, we have designed specially isolated rooms, kept under positive pressure to ensure total sterility.
Data integrity is ensured through sophisticated computer networks and a custom-developed software, with multiple levels of security, allowing also the online connection of our facilities.
DEPARTMENT OF CYTOGENETICS
The latest cytogenetic techniques are applied for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities: in prenatal diagnosis in the 1st and 2nd trimester, in the investigation of reproductive problems, in neoplasia and especially in different types of leukemia.
Following more than 32 years of operation and successful analysis of over 125,000 cases, we have attained a high level of experience in this field.
Multiple security levels ensure the highest possible accuracy and reliability of our results , as for example the application of in situ analysis of two or more cultures in prenatal chromosomal diagnosis, karyotypic analysis by three independent observers, implementation of high resolution techniques and exclusion of maternal cell contamination for all prenatal samples.
The department also utilizes the latest FISH techniques for the detection of non-visible, submicroscopic chromosomal abnormalities, microdeletions and translocations, in prenatal and postnatal samples as well as in leukemias.
The Cytogenetics Laboratory is equipped with a fully computerized, networked IKAROS (Metasystems) karyotyping system, with 10 modern Olympus BX51TF microscopes and a fluorescent ISIS microscope station for multi-color FISH analysis. Safety of tissue cultures is ensured by specially designed independent culture rooms, equipped with 8 Heal Force HF90 CO2 cabinets, two Laminar Flow cabinets and a well organized support laboratory equipped with water-baths, heated plates, centrifuges, etc.
PRENATAL BIOCHEMICAL SCREENING UNIT
The unit’s exclusive activity is the analysis of biochemical markers from a dry blood sample (dry test) obtained from the mother, in order to calculate the risk for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities for the embryo. More specifically, the unit conducts:
- analysis of PAPP-a and free β-hCG levels in the 1st trimester of pregnancy,
- analysis of β-hCG, αFP and uE3 levels in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy
- combined analysis of the above with ultrasound markers
- measurement of αFP in amniotic fluid
DNA extraction from the same dry blood sample permits parallel analysis of common mutations for cystic fibrosis and deafness. The main advantage of the dry blood sample is that it ensures the integrity and stability of the biological markers-molecules, which is essential for the safe transport of the sample and the accuracy of the measurements. As a result, we have gained the trust of hundreds of obstetricians-gynecologists and patients and, through them, we have amassed a wealth of experience through analysis of >152,000 samples.
The Unit is equipped with Elisa photometers, a Tecan Minilyser robotic station and dedicated software for the statistical analysis and risk calculation.
It features the latest analytic technology, ensuring accuracy, reliability and speed and is staffed by highly trained medical and para-medical personnel with extensive experience in the field.
DEPARTMENT OF IMMUNOLOGY
The aim of the Department is to ensure the best possible service of immunological laboratory testing, pursuing quality to the relevant laboratory tests, collaboration with physicians, but also the continuous training of medical and paramedical staff.
The tests conducted in Department include protein-biological markers, auto-antibodies, immune-phenotypic analysis of various biological samples, etc .
DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY
The Department of Biochemistry offers a variety of biochemical tests for the measurement of analytes in peripheral blood and other samples.
It features an automatic biochemical analyzer, capable of meeting the increased demands in terms of throughput but also in the range of tests and is complemented with the necessary electrophoresis system. The analytical methods utilized have optimum characteristics in terms of linearity, accuracy and turnaround time.
DEPARTMENT OF MICROBIOLOGY
The Department carries out, indicatively: peripheral blood counts, testing of urine, pleural, ascetic and cerebrospinal fluid, aerobic and anaerobic microbial or fungal cultures and antibiotic sensitivity for a variety of biological fluids such as urine, feces, vaginal, cervical, urethral, prostatic fluid and semen.
The Department incorporates a constantly upgraded modern technical equipment and well-trained staff. Tests carried out at the Department are characterized by absolute precision and reliability, verified by regular internal and external quality controls.
DEPARTMENT OF ENDOCRINOLOGY
The Department carries out a variety of hormonal tests (thyroid, reproductive/fertility, androgens, for hypertension, osteoporosis, adrenal function and diabetes).
The advantage of this section is the ability to offer simultaneous genetic counseling during fetal ultrasound examination. Thus, every case is personalized and handled in-depth through close collaboration between the fetal medicine specialist and the clinical geneticist. Where applicable, the pregnant woman is able to consult the clinical geneticist for matters relating to the fetus.
This new division is staffed with highly trained and reputable obstetricians-gynecologists, specialists in fetal-maternal medicine and certified by the Fetal Medicine Foundation.
Testing is always performed in close cooperation with the referring obstetrician, who has the overall responsibility of monitoring the pregnancy.
- DEPARTMENT OF ULTRASONOGRAPHY
The Department conducts all the necessary ultrasound examinations required during pregnancy. The development of the fetus is assessed through ultrasound examinations from the time of conception until birth.
The Department is equipped with the latest ultrasound equipment (General Electric Voluson) and the necessary supporting software packages.
The tests offered in the Department include ultrasonographic measurement of nuchal translucency – NT, detailed 2nd trimester ultrasound scan, developmental ultrasound and Doppler.
- DEPARTMENT OF INVASIVE TESTING
The Department offers a full range of invasive procedures for prenatal diagnosis at different stages of pregnancy. Specifically, it performs chorionic villi and amniotic fluid sampling as well as fetal blood sampling, as appropriate.
Through the specialized medical staff and in close cooperation with the Department of Clinical Genetics and Genetic Counseling and the Department of Molecular Genetics and Genomics, it provides comprehensive and high quality diagnostic services.
- Administration Secretariat
The Administration Secretariat ensures a more efficient performance of the tasks at the Management level of the company.
- Services Secretariat
The main concern of this secretariat is the proper implementation of the company’s services and to provide the best possible support to the patients.
- Secretariat for Communication, Development and Support
The main responsibilities of the secretariat is the efficient handling of issues relating to the organization and operation of the Centre’s management, but also the productive management of the customers and internal or external partners.
It also contributes to the effective collaboration with the internal or external medical staff, of the Administration and the Departments of the Center, creating the right conditions for a productive cooperation.
In addition, it provides support to all of the Centre’s departments, as well as to the Management in terms of proper functioning of the Centre. In this context, it has undertaken the role of ISO Quality Management, maintaining the proper functioning of all processes through documented manuals, procedures and instructions, as well as monitoring and implementing the Company’s quality objectives.
- Financial Services
It ensures proper functioning of all financial and accounting aspects of the Centre.
- External Courier Services
The external services focus on the transport of medical samples, adhering to the required standards of the Quality Management System.