Fetal Cell-Based Noninvasive Prenatal Testing Advances With Three New Feasibility studies (GenomeWeb)

By Julia Karow|Nov 02, 2016|NEW YORK

Prenatal testing appears to be at the brink of another round of major innovation, with three recent reports demonstrating the feasibility of isolating fetal cells noninvasively and analyzing their DNA for aberrations, a goal researchers had pursued for decades.

Testing DNA from fetal cells instead of cell-free DNA from the mother’s blood — the approach taken by current noninvasive prenatal tests, or NIPTs — has the advantage that the genetic material is unadulterated by maternal DNA, enabling the detection of smaller changes more sensitively and possibly earlier during pregnancy, according to the developers. However, challenges exist to recover enough fetal cells per sample, increase the throughput of fetal cell isolation, and keep down costs.