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Non-invasive prenatal diagnosis

Maiwenn Kersaudy Kerhoas, Deirdre Kavanagh, Mazher-Iqbal Mohammed, Resh Dhariwal, Farid Amalou, Elizabeth McKeever and Marc Desmulliez
Analysis of fetal genetic material extracted from maternal blood is a smart alternative to invasive prenatal testing such as amniocentesis and CVS. [Read More]

Advances in medical care mean that pregnant women can now undergo various tests to ensure the health of their baby before they are born. However, some of these necessary tests can occasionally cause harm to mother or baby. Some of the risks associated with current procedures include bleeding, leakage and infection of the amniotic fluid and miscarriage.
We are developing the area of Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis (NIPD), which will mean certain foetal conditions can be detected from a few drops of blood from the mother instead of more invasive procedures. Current technology can be slow, cumbersome and require expensive pieces of medical equipment which are difficult to transport. This new technology is simple and only requires a few millilitres of blood from the mother.
We are developing a series of Lab-On-a-Chip (LOaC) modules for the study of prenatal diagnosis of foetal sex and rhesus D status, and ultimately foetal chromosome abnormality. The availability of Lab-On-a-Chip NIPD technology has the potential to cut the numbers of women having to undergo an invasive prenatal diagnosis by approximately 50 per cent and significantly reduce risks of miscarriages or harm to the mother.
It will also mean earlier diagnosis than current tests and give doctors the opportunity to treat any problems more quickly.