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Sequencing works in clinical setting to help -- finally -- get a diagnosis
Date:5/7/2012

DURHAM, N.C. -- Advanced high-speed gene-sequencing has been used in the clinical setting to find diagnoses for seven children out of a dozen who were experiencing developmental delays and congenital abnormalities for mysterious reasons.

"I thought if we could obtain even a couple of relatively secure diagnoses out of the 12 patients, that would prove the value of deploying sequencing approaches systematically in patients with unknown but apparently genetic conditions," said David Goldstein, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation and professor of molecular genetics and microbiology.

"Few sequencing studies have approached the problem as we did, taking a very heterogeneous group of patients," Goldstein said. "Getting a likely diagnosis about half of the time is quite stunning and strongly motivates next-generation sequencing for all patients that fail to get a genetic diagnosis through traditional testing."

The research team used next-generation sequencing, a new technology that can rapidly read a person's entire genome or just their exome, the sections of DNA that make the proteins, which direct physiological activities. The cost of such sequencing is becoming lower, making it feasible to do the study in a clinical setting.

The work was published online on May 8, in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

"There are up to 50,000 live births in America each year with the children having features of developmental delays, intellectual disabilities or congenital abnormalities similar to those we studied," said Vandana Shashi, M.D., co-author and associate professor of pediatrics in the Duke Center for Human Genetics. "Many of these children remain without diagnoses and we could systematically try to help identify a cause."

Shashi said families involved with the study often expressed relief just to have a diagnosis, even when a condition remained difficult or impossible to treat. '/>"/>

Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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