Included below are news items from the last six months.
In a news item on 1 February 2016 we reported the recommendation of the UK National Screening Committee that non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) of mother’s blood in early pregnancy be offered to those with high risk results from current screening tests for Down’s syndrome. This would decrease the number of false positives and so reduce the number of potential miscarriages from invasive diagnostic procedures. The Department of Health has now approved the test for implementation. It is expected to be rolled out over the next three years once staff have been trained and the technology made available.
A new DNA blood test for Rhesus-D negative women during pregnancy could spare treatment for thousands
A new prenatal DNA blood test reliably determines the Rhesus-D (RhD) status of the baby being carried by a woman whose red blood cells are RhD negative. Currently all RhD negative women are offered an anti-D immunoglobulin injection during pregnancy to reduce the possibility of problems in future pregnancies. But those carrying an RhD negative baby do not need the injection. The new test was recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in draft guidance on 14 July 2016. NICE said research indicated that about 40,000 RhD negative women each year would be spared treatment with anti-D immunoglobulin; in addition there would be potential NHS cost-savings of more than £50,000 a year.
In Dr James Le Fanu’s online health clinic, published in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday 28 June 2016, visitors were directed to Lab Tests Online-UK as a result of a letter submitted to the online health clinic. A reader wrote to inform Dr Le Fanu of the website, and described it as a useful, respectable source of information, endorsed by the Royal College of Pathologists.