Podcast drama Tremolo nominated for BBC Audio Drama Awards!

The podcast drama Tremolo – a collaboration between Wales Gene Park, Illumine Theatre and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, supported by the Genetics Society – has been nominated for two BBC Audio Drama Awards! The awards celebrate the range, originality and cut-through quality of audio drama on air and online and give recognition to the creativity of actors, writers, producers, sound designers and others who work in this genre.

A nomination for Tremolo by Lisa Parry, producer Zoe Waterman, Illumine Theatre comes in the ‘Best Original Single Drama’ category, while actor Gareth Elis is nominated for ‘The Marc Beeby Award for Best Debut Performance’ for his portrayal of 18-year-old Harri who’s just finished his exams and is ready to follow his dreams when he discovers that his mother has been diagnosed with early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease, a condition Harri and his sister each have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting.

The winners will be announced on Sunday 19 March 2023 in a ceremony in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House London and all at Wales Gene Park would like to wish the Tremolo team good luck!

More about Tremolo:

If you knew you could have a serious medical condition and could find out, would you? How could this affect your friends and family?

These questions and more are explored through Harri’s story, an 18-year-old who’s just finished his exams and ready to follow his dreams. His world is turned upside down when his mother is diagnosed with early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease, a condition Harri and his sister each have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting.

Should he take a test to find out if he has it too? Tremolo offers listeners a real insight, exploring the impact of Harri’s choice on his relationships and dreams.

Tremolo is aimed primarily at students aged 16+, but also available to the wider public. It is available in both English and Welsh to listen and download via platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, AM & on Theatr Genedlaethol’s website.

You can also link to it on Spotify below:

The podcast series will also feature episodes from the drama’s creative team discussing the themes of the play, as well as contributions from genetics specialists.

Tremolo is an Illumine Theatre production in partnership with Wales Gene Park and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, supported by the Genetics Society.

Starring Gareth Elis. Written by Lisa Parry, directed by Zoë Waterman, harp music composed and played by Eira Lynn Jones, sound design and editing by Rhys Young, assistant director Branwen Davies, additional music by Yws Gwynedd. Tremolo was recorded at Hoot Studios, Cardiff.

Education Pack

The drama is also accompanied by an education pack for schools & colleges aimed at year 12/13 students. The pack contains:

Creative content including

  • A synopsis of the drama
  • Interviews with the creative team
  • Creative activities

Scientific content including

  • Information Toolkit
  • Careers Support
  • Scientific Activities
  • Points for reflection
  • Help and support

Teachers/educators can get a copy of the pack by emailing walesgenepark@cardiff.ac.uk

Public Genomics Cafe 2nd February 2023, 11am-1.45pm, Zoom. Book now!

Want to find out more about genomics & health in Wales? Affected by a rare, genetic or undiagnosed condition? Join us!

February’s café will feature relaxed talks including:

  • SWAN UK – Cymru: Update & Introduction to the new ‘Rare Resources Wales’ Izzy Rundle, SWAN UK
  • All Wales Psychiatric Genomics Service: An update Dr Annie Procter, All Wales Medical Genomics Service
  • Genomics in Wales: A Focus on People – Patient Involvement & Co-Production Michaela John, Genomics Partnership Wales
  • Rare Disease Day 2023 – light the way and get involved! Rachel Clayton & Matthew Hamer, Genetic Alliance UK

All welcome – FREE to attend. 

Book your place here: http://shorturl.at/aloPV



Genomics Delivery Plan for Wales 2022 – 2025 Launched

Genomics is amongst the most exciting arenas of 21st century healthcare and will give us previously unimaginable opportunities to better understand illness, improve patient outcomes and transform lives. Personalised medicine, testing and other genetic adaptations and innovations using new methods, tools and technologies will shape the future of modern medicine.

The Genomics Delivery Plan for Wales 2022-25 details how Genomics Partnership Wales will continue to work in partnership with Welsh Government and other stakeholders, to harness advances in the understanding and application of genomics to transform public health strategy and delivery of care.

The Genomics Delivery Plan for Wales 2022-25 can be found here.

Download the Genomics Delivery Plan for Wales 2022-25 here.

Annual Public Genetics & Genomics (3G) Conference Thurs 1 Dec, 10.15am – 2pm, Zoom. Book now!

Like to find out more about the fascinating field of DNA, genetics and genomics and discover how it affects our everyday lives? Join us for our 7th annual 3G public genetics and genomics conference!

Enjoy short talks on topics including:

  • Getting the Timing Right: Chrononutrition
  • Exploring early human populations in Britain using ancient DNA
  • The Brave New World of CRISPR Gene-editing
  • Moving Through the Menopause – a ghrelin perspective
  • Breathing Easier in a Polluted World
  • Ethical Issues in Genetic/Genomic Medicine

Join us for the whole event or drop in for some talks (talks are 25 mins. including time for questions with our expert speakers). The event is aimed at members of the public over 50, but everyone is welcome.

Attendance FREE. Registration required via Eventbrite: https://tinyurl.com/ycar6fpr 

Further information email walesgenepark@cardiff.ac.uk


Britain’s first SWAN Clinic offers hope for patients in Wales with syndromes so rare they don’t have a name

Britain’s first SWAN (syndrome without a name) Clinic has opened at the University Hospital of Wales — offering hope to children and adults with syndromes so rare they don’t have a name.

Commissioned by Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) and funded by Welsh Government, the SWAN Clinic has been established by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to improve pathways for people living with rare, undiagnosed conditions across Wales.

Although rare diseases are by their nature individually rare, collectively they are common with 1 in 17 people being affected by a rare disease at some point in their lifetime, equating to around 175,000 people across Wales. There are thousands of known rare diseases that affect both children and adults, but some are so uncommon and difficult to diagnose they are known as a ‘syndrome without a name’ or SWAN.

Rare diseases disproportionately affect children and 30% of children with a rare disease will die before their fifth birthday. Many rare diseases affect multiple systems of the body, and families describe a “diagnostic odyssey” of seeing many different specialists on a journey before a diagnosis is made. The SWAN clinic will offer a one stop shop to circumvent this.

Lynne Hughes, of Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taf, knows all too well the emotional and physical challenges that patients living with a ‘syndrome without a name’ and their families face. Her daughter Amy Hughes died in 2020 when she was just 32-years-old. Amy had learning difficulties and suffered from multiple complex issues throughout her life but medical professionals were unable to diagnose her condition.

Amy Hughes (L), Lynne Hughes (R)

Lynne’s son Michael, 36, is now under the care of the SWAN Clinic, having developed some of the same symptoms as Amy.

Lynne said: “Amy first started getting ill when she was three and throughout her life we weren’t able to get an answer. Sometimes we were given answers to just part of the issue, but we never fully knew why it was happening.

“Despite all of her problems, she took everything in her stride and never asked what was wrong with her. She wasn’t very independent and relied on me for everything, especially towards the end, but she just accepted it.

“She passed away in November 2020, very shortly after we found out she had a brain tumour. I don’t know if having a diagnosis would have changed but it would be nice to be able to put a name to it and finally know what the problem really was.”

Amy’s DNA has been stored and will be reviewed and retested in the hope that it could help other people living with undiagnosed conditions. Michael has also undergone additional genetic testing and while no diagnosis has been made yet, Lynne is hopeful the service could provide answers.

Amy Hughes

Speaking of Michael, Lynne said: “It was only about three-and-a-half years ago when he suffered a bad infection and developed sepsis that he started to become unwell and develop some of the same symptoms as Amy.

“Thankfully he isn’t as unwell as she was, but I don’t know if he’s going to continue becoming more unwell. The SWAN Clinic gives me hope that we will find out what was wrong with Amy and what is causing Michael’s problems.”

Having secured £430,000 in Welsh Government funding, the SWAN Clinic will initially run as a pilot for two years and aims to shorten the time patients wait for a diagnosis, improve medical knowledge and foster research.

Dr Graham Shortland OBE the clinical lead for the SWAN clinic, said: “Rare diseases are a significant health problem that are unfortunately associated with poor outcomes. The impact on patients and their families is considerable, with the majority of patients who do receive a diagnosis waiting an average of four years.

“A diagnosis brings hopes and reassurance to families and the goal of the SWAN Clinic is to shorten the diagnostic journey, improve access to specialist care and support those who continue to await a diagnosis.”

The launch of the SWAN Clinic coincided with the launch of the Wales Rare Diseases Action Plan by the Rare Diseases Implementation Group (RDIG).

Prof Iolo Doull, the Chairman of RDIG, said “The Wales Rare Disease Plan aims to improve the care of all people with rare diseases by helping patients and families get a final diagnosis faster.

“Many patients have complex needs and the plan sets out ways to improve the coordination of care. This will lead to improved access to specialist care including new treatments and medicines. We need to increase the awareness of rare diseases amongst all healthcare professionals. The SWAN clinic is an important part of this bigger overall plan.”

Public Genomics Café, 24th Nov, 11am-12.45pm, Zoom. Book now!

November’s café will feature relaxed talks including:

  • Co-occurring conditions in autism – the who and the why Dr Jack Underwood, Clinical Research Fellow, Cardiff University
  • Genomic Data-Sharing for Research Rhys Vaughan, Genomics Consent Manager, Wales Gene Park
  • Introduction to Pharmacogenomic Testing in Wales: How Genetics can Help
    Treatment Choices
     Aine Moylett, All Wales Medical Genomics Service
  • Living with Fragile X Syndrome: the good, the bad and the extraordinary Alison Evans, Rare Disease Advocate

All welcome – FREE to attend

Register for Virtual Café: shorturl.at/ckrtV

Don’t forget to bring your cuppa!

For further information: walesgenepark@cardiff.ac.uk


Welsh Rare Disease Patient Network Annual Meeting 2022, 10th Nov 10.30am – 2.30pm, Zoom. Book now!

Please join us for our annual meeting – free to attend for anyone with an interest in rare diseases!
This year, we will hear about opportunities to get involved in Rare Disease Day 2023, plans underway for developing a patient passport service for rare diseases, hear updates about the Welsh Rare Disease Plan and Syndromes Without a Name (SWAN) clinics in Wales. Join the workshop to input to the development of a funding bid for a digital hub to support rare disease patients in Wales!

This event is FREE to join via Zoom.

Register via Eventbrite to receive the joining link and instructions: https://tinyurl.com/bdejt8bv

For more information, please contact Emma Hughes: emma@geneticalliance.org.uk