Molecular diagnosis relieves patients of uncertainty, aids informed decisions about health and reproductive choices, and helps them join clinical trials or access available therapy. Genetic testing by next generation sequencing (NGS) is the suggested choice for a wide variety of disorders with heterogeneous phenotypes, alleles and loci. The development of a NGS service at MAGI Balkans, through the support of a partner, increases the availability of forefront genetic testing in Albania with great advantages for patients and their families. Here we report the NGS tests performed in collaboration with MAGI Euregio, Italy, for the diagnosis of rare genetic disease in seven probands and their families. The diseases/manifestations included ichthyosis, familial adenomatous polyposis, diabetes, syndromic craniosynostosis, fronto-temporal dementia, fragile X syndrome and ataxia. We obtained an overall detection rate of 57%. For 4/7 probands we identified a pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant, while for the others, the results did not completely explain the phenotype. All variants were confirmed by Sanger sequencing. Segregation of the variant with the affected phenotype was also evaluated.
Analytical laboratory results greatly influence medical diagnosis, about 70% of medical decisions are based on laboratory results. Quality assurance and quality control are designed to detect and correct errors in a laboratory’s analytical process to ensure both the reliability and accuracy of test results. Unreliable performance can result in misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. Furthermore, improved quality guarantees increased productivity at a lower cost. Quality assurance programmes include internal quality control, external quality assessment, proficiency surveillance and standardization. It is necessary to try to ensure compliance with the requirements of the standards at all levels of the process. The sources of these standards are the International Standards Organization (ISO), national standards bodies, guidelines from professional organisations, accreditation bodies and governmental regulations. Laboratory networks increase the performance of laboratories in support of diagnostic screening programme. It is essential that genetic laboratories of a network have procedures underpinned by a robust quality assurance system to minimize errors and to reassure the clinicians and the patients that international standards are being met. This article provides an overview of the bases of quality assurance and its importance in genetic tests and it reports the EBTNA quality assurance system which is a clear and simple system available for access to adequate standardization of a genetic laboratory’s network.