A risk-free blood test for Down’s syndrome in pregnancy, Times, june 21, 2008:
A test that can detect Down’s syndrome from the blood of pregnant women has raised the prospect of routine screening for the condition for every expectant mother who wants it.
Genetic markers that show whether a foetus has the chromosomal disorder can now be identified in the mother’s bloodstream, after research that promises the first reliable noninvasive prenatal test.
The experimental procedure, developed in Hong Kong, has been shown to diagnose 90 per cent of Down’s syndrome cases in a small trial, while also correctly identifying 97 per cent of foetuses that do not have the condition.
If its accuracy can be improved and it is validated in larger patient trials, which scientists believe should take three to five years, it would transform prenatal testing for Down’s.