Fetal test used for detection of diseases in the fetuses led to a surprising detection of cancer in carrying mothers and is a breakthrough in early detection of the fatal disease.
A new blood test which has been available in the market as recently as 2011 has been used in diagnosing the fetuses with various conditions such as Down syndrome. It has been a part of prenatal diagnosis of diseases and conditions that can be fixed inside the mother’s womb before the child is even born.
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A great breakthrough in medical and surgical science, the test has been used to diagnose fetuses by mapping their genetic make-up and look for signs of diseases.
It has however revealed itself to be useful for one other purpose. A surprise to the researchers, the test revealed that the test results came out to be abnormal. On a closer look, it was came out that the abnormalities were not caused by the fetal DNA but the DNA of the mother indicating early onset of cancer.
A study analyzing eight such cases recorded that there were cancerous samples from the mother in the test. A study participant said that she was told that babies with the chromosomal issues they found in her sample typically don’t survive which made her freaking because she didn’t know what was going on.
About a week later, further testing showed that her baby was indeed fine. Jenny Bernstein, 40, a San Francisco resident reported that if a woman gets a false positive, maybe there’s further testing that can be done, not for the fetus but for the mom.
Lead researcher Dr. Diana Bianchi, executive director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center, said the study’s results were according to her “very unexpected.”
She added that it was important that women are aware of this possibility of being diagnosed. It very strongly shows that women should not take any immediate action based on the screening test but take to getting tested further if the test is indicative.
Even though the study’s focus is based on prenatal testing, it foreshadows a future of sophisticated tests that could catch cancer in its earliest stages by spotting DNA from cancer cells, said Brigham and Women’s Hospital geneticist Dr. Robert Green.
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The study was published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.