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Emory Genetics Laboratory offers new non-invasive prenatal test

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Holly Korschun

Emory Genetics Laboratory, through a partnership with Verinata Health, an Illumina company, will begin providing the verifi® prenatal test for patients desiring non-invasive prenatal testing. All pregnant women within the Emory Genetics Laboratory network determined to be high-risk by their physicians will be offered the option of the verifi prenatal test.  

The verifi prenatal test is a blood test that analyzes genetic material (or DNA) naturally found in a pregnant woman’s blood to detect the most common fetal chromosome abnormalities. When directed by a physician, the verifi prenatal test can be offered to pregnant women of at least 10 weeks gestation at high risk of carrying a fetus with a genetic abnormality.  

A physician may classify a woman as "high-risk" if she is over 35 years of age, has a prior personal or family history of chromosome abnormalities, or has had a positive initial screening test indicating she is at increased risk for carrying a fetus with a genetic abnormality. The verifi prenatal test is covered as an in-network, contracted benefit with most national and regional payers.  

Physicians have the option of ordering the verifi prenatal test with or without the inclusion of sex chromosome abnormality detection. The verifi prenatal test detects Down syndrome (trisomy 21 or T21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18 or T18) and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13 or T13). The sex chromosome option includes the ability to detect Turner syndrome (Monosomy X), Triple X (XXX), Klinefelter syndrome (XXY) and Jacobs syndrome (XYY) as well as fetal sex (XX or XY) to aid in stratifying risk for X-linked disorders.  

"Emory Genetics Laboratory is dedicated to offering superior, cutting-edge testing for use in all aspects of medicine," says Madhuri Hegde, PhD, FACMG, executive director of Emory Genetics Laboratory.  

"The low failure rate and quick turnaround of the verifi prenatal test has been corroborated through extensive and reproducible peer-reviewed data that support our offering of this test for high-risk pregnant women," says Brad Coffee, PhD, FACMG, senior director of Emory Genetics Laboratory. [Prenatal Diagnosis 33. 569-574 (2013)]  

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recently recommended cell-free DNA prenatal testing as one option that can be used as a primary or secondary screening test in women at increased risk of aneuploidy or having an extra or missing chromosome. [American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Genetics Committee Opinion (2012). Noninvasive prenatal testing for fetal aneuploidy. Committee Opinion No. 545.Obstetrics and Gynecology, 120: 1532-4.]  

Emory Genetics Laboratory (EGL) is associated with the Department of Human Genetics in Emory University School of Medicine. EGL’s biochemical, cytogenetic, and molecular laboratories use the latest technologies to provide patients and physicians with integrated and comprehensive testing from the simplest to the most complex genetic cases.

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