Fetal DNA circulating in pregnant mother's blood can be used in detecting genetic deformities
The fetal DNA circulating in a pregnant mother’s blood can be used in detecting a wide variety of genetic abnormalities before birth, which opens doors for non-invasive testing for more conditions.
By sequencing DNA that escapes into women’s blood streams, the scientists were able to detect disease-causing mutations that are now normally found by piercing a mother’s womb with a needle to get amniotic fluid, according to a study in American Journal of Human Genetics.
Getting the DNA from a blood sample from the mother carries no risk and may enable doctors to expand their reach and accuracy as they look for genetic disease, said, Cynthia Morton, a Harvard Medical School geneticist who performed prenatal tests at Birgham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The study was done by scientists at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and Verinata Health Inc in Redwood City in California. Besides, Illumina Inc, the biggest drug maker of DNA sequencers said it will be buying Verinata for $350 million plus as much as $100 million in milestone payments through 2015.
The interest in sequencing fetuses and newborn is increasing as more labs are showing that DNA can quickly diagnose rare diseases that once took years to unravel.
The U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute has set aside $25 million to study the question pertaining to fetus sequencing newborns over the next five years.
Verinata and other companies are already offering blood tests that analyze circulating fetal DNA to diagnose Down Syndrome, a genetic condition in which a baby is born with three copies of chromosome 21, instead of the normal two.
The same tests can also detect other conditions in which the fetus has too many copies of certain chromosom es, which are the packages that hold large amounts of DNA within the cell’s nucleus.
Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”