Great Ormond Street Hospital trials new Downs' test

Great Ormond Street Hospital to trial new test for Down's Syndrome

NHS 'welcomes' research into Down's Syndrome test

Public Health England said it was pleased that research further supported the use of a new Down's Syndrome test which is being trialed at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) is currently working with clinicians to trial the use of NIPT in the NHS and will make a formal recommendation on whether to introduce the test when the results of the trial are known.

The UK NSC welcomes research undertaken by the scientific advisory committee at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to see whether the test would be effective in the identification of chromosomal abnormalities in unborn babies.

Early indications suggest that using NIPT to screen women who are found to be at a higher risk of having a baby with Down's syndrome would enable earlier and safer detection of the condition.

– Dr Anne Mackie, director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee

Down's Syndrome test supported by new research

A pioneering new test for Down's Syndrome which is undergoing trials at Great Ormond Street Hospital has received further support from a new research published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is currently only available in private hospitals and its makers claim it can predict with 99% accuracy whether a baby has Down's Syndrome or other rare genetic disorders.

Now a team from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust claim it is so accurate it would dramatically cut the need for invasive tests which carry a risk of miscarriage. But the paper also found that a minority of mothers may occasionally be informed of findings of uncertain significance.

This is the most exciting development in pregnancy care in many years.The new test is so accurate that the number of women who will need invasive tests is going to fall very dramatically while still informing those who wish to know about chromosomal abnormalities.The test is not yet available on the NHS but we think it will become a primary screening tool for all women who wish to know about foetal chromosomal abnormalities

– Professor Peter Soothill, consultant in foetal medicine at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

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Great Ormond Street Hospital trials new Downs' Test

Great Ormond Street Hospital in the capital is to trial a new test for Downs' Syndrome to see if it should be offered to pregnant women by the NHS.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) can predict with 99% accuracy whether a baby has Down's but is currently only available in private hospitals.

The blood test detects a baby's genetic material and does not carry any risk of miscarriage like current invasive tests.

At present, testing for Down's involves a combination of an ultrasound scan of the baby and a blood test for the mother.

Experts then estimate a woman's chance of having a baby with Down's.

Those found to be at higher risk can opt for further tests, such as amniocentesis -but this carries a one in 100 risk of miscarriage.

The new test also screens for the rare genetic conditions Edward's syndrome and Patau syndrome.