For the first time, doctors at Boston Pediatric Hospital will sequence the genome of newborn infants in an attempt “to foresee the diseases that the child might develop in the future” and thus to “prevent” them.
Currently, newborn babies are already genetically tested for dozens of diseases but with DNA sequencing.“Doctors can test for more than 1,600 hereditary diseases” including Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases and certain cancers. These tests could also predict the newborn’s response to medical treatment.
The mothers who were interviewed see “good and bad” in the sequencing of their newborn infants but above all feel that the results could be “worrying”.
The team of doctors is launching a study called “BabySeq”, which will include 240 healthy newborn infants and 240 infants born in neonatal intensive care units. The children will be monitored for up to five years. With these studies they hope to be able to specify the potential role of genome sequencing in future paediatric medical care.
CBC Boston (12/11/2015)