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Study shows that new DNA test to identify Down syndrome in pregnancy is ready for clinical use
Date:10/17/2011

A new DNA-based prenatal blood test that can strikingly reduce the number of risky diagnostic procedures needed to identify a pregnancy with Down syndrome is ready to be introduced into clinical practice. The test can be offered as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy to women who have been identified as being at high risk for Down syndrome. These are the results of an international, multicenter study published online today in the journal Genetics in Medicine. The study, the largest and most comprehensive done to date, examined almost 1,700 pregnancies at high risk of chromosomal abnormalities, 212 of which were affected by Down syndrome.

The research was led by Jacob Canick, PhD, and Glenn Palomaki, PhD, of the Division of Medical Screening and Special Testing in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Women & Infants Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and included scientists at Sequenom, Inc. and Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine, San Diego, CA, and an independent academic laboratory at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The test identified 98.6% of the Down syndrome pregnancies, while only 0.2% of the normal pregnancies were mistakenly called positive. The test rarely failed to provide a clinical interpretation (0.8%). These findings, along with the detailed information learned from testing such a large number of samples, demonstrate that the new test will be highly effective when offered to women considering invasive testing.

"With current screening methods, about one in every 30 women offered a follow-up invasive diagnostic procedure - amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) - will be found to have a pregnancy with Down syndrome. We expect the DNA-based test to more accurately determine which women should be offered invasive diagnostic testing. As a result, most of the pregnancies referred for amniocentesis or CVS will be found to have Down syndrome,"
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Contact: Amy Blustein
ablustein@wihri.org
401-681-2822
Women & Infants Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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