The launch of a NIPS study in Quebec

Publié le : 8 April 2014

 Scientists at the Quebec Mother and Child Centre are taking part in a pan-Canadian study which aims to develop non-invasive prenatal diagnostics (NIPS) which could screen for Down syndrome during the initial months of pregnancy.             

To this end, doctors at the Laval University Hospital Centre (CHUL – Quebec) are testing 1,300 pregnant women in the region in order to compare the results of the new test with amniocentesis. This research is being carried out at the same time in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. According to Dr. Gekas, the aim of the project is "to increase screening safety to reduce the risk of miscarriage associated with amniocentesis". 

Currently unused by the hospitals, the Panorama test is offered by the Procréa company for €800. Because this is a private company, there is no objective guarantee in terms of efficacy, explained Dr. Gekas: "The only problem is that, in general, the companies holding the patents for this test will also have financed the research. Therefore, all projects, the results of which are currently available, have been financed by companies that commercialise these tests". 
Finally, a protocol on the use of this blood test was compiled by doctors "in order to establish when it can be recommended when monitoring pregnancy", explained the radio Canada information site. According to Dr. Gekas, doctors should be asking themselves "whether [this test] could be used as a tool to create humans ‘with no manufacturing defect’?". 

According to the journalist, the test could be used in hospitals in 2016 or 2017.

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