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Illy Trieste Science Prize: Yuk Ming Dennis Lo awarded for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis
Date:9/18/2012

Tianjin, China - The winner of the eighth edition of the Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize was announced today (Tuesday, 18 September 2012). The Prize rewards scientists living and working in developing countries whose research has had a significant impact on sustainable development. In previous years, the Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize has been awarded for research on climate change, renewable energy, and materials science. This year's Prize is awarded in the area of human health.

The winner received his award in front of an audience of more than 500 scientists, ministers of science and presidents of science academies from around the globe. The audience was convened by TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, for the TWAS 12th General Conference and 23rd General Meeting held this week in Tianjin, China, and hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Yuk Ming Dennis Lo, director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and professor of medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), received the prestigious award for developing, with his team of researchers at CUHK, a ground-breaking technology for scanning the entire genome of a foetus from a blood sample obtained from its pregnant mother.

In 1997, Lo was able to demonstrate the presence of high concentrations of cell-free foetal DNA in the plasma of pregnant women, which could then be sampled and tested. This discovery opened up new possibilities for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis, and has effectively reduced our reliance on previous invasive and potentially risky, methods.

Lo commented: "The common procedures for prenatal diagnosis based on amniocentesis (the removal of amniotic fluid from the womb) and chorionic villus sampling (taking a piece of tissue from the placenta) are not entirely risk-free due to their invasiveness. To have a non-invasive test that can give certain answers and that can be followed over time in the womb, is a concrete help in obste
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Contact: Cristina Serra
cserra@twas.org
39-040-224-0429
TWAS
Source:Eurekalert  

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Illy Trieste Science Prize: Yuk Ming Dennis Lo awarded for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis
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