Prenatal testing breakthrough

For the first time specific gene expression information from fetal cells isolated from maternal blood samples is available.
The Danish biotechnology company FCMB has discovered a breakthrough in riskfree prenatal diagnostic. The focus of the company is to develop and commercialize a no risk prenatal diagnostics method based on fetal cells isolated from maternal blood. Fetal cells specific expression patterns different from maternal blood cells have been revealed by the generation of a cDNA lirary and subsequent microarray analysis.

This information gives FCMB a unique possibility to develop markers specific for fetal cells, allowing FCMB to isolate fetal cells from a maternal blood sample for subsequent genetic analysis using standard molecular dianostic tests.

It has been known for the past four decades that throughout pregnancy, fetal cells pass the placenta and circulate in the maternal bloodstream. Collecting fetal cells from a maternal blood sample for subsequent molecular diagnostics is difficult because there are very fw of them in a blood sample. In order to distinguish them from maternal blood cells one needs to have a very specific marker. To create such markers it’s necessary to know what is different in fetal cells in relation to maternal blood cells.

The knowledge of this difference, the specific protein occurring only in fetal cells, is what allows selection of those cells. A gene expression profile, obtained by a combination of cDNA library and micro array experiments, reveals such differences and is the base for developing this fetal cell recognition system. FCMB has created this breakthrough cDNA library using proprietary preparation methods.

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