The translation of genetic knowledge from the research laboratory into the clinical arena is a complex and challenging process. The skills and expertise required are different from those required by a successful laboratory scientist. Recognising the scale of the challenge, University College London has established the Institute of Human Genetics and Health; a unique, multi-disciplinary initiative examining the impact of genetic knowledge on human health and disease. The testing of the BRCA1 and 2 genes in the North East Thames region is an interesting example of the translation of genetic testing into clinical care, and the corresponding complexities relating to informed consent that can arise. The development of a remote cancer genetics service within North East Thames Regional Genetics Service, which uses live, real time teleconferencing technology, is a powerful example of the fact that the National Health Service (NHS) can adapt, and integrate new technology into its working practice.