March 3, 2004

Cell-Free Fetal DNA in Maternal BloodEvolving Clinical Applications

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Drs Simpson and Bischoff) and Molecular and Human Genetics (Dr Simpson), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex.

JAMA. 2004;291(9):1135-1137. doi:10.1001/jama.291.9.1135

In this issue of THE JOURNAL, the findings reported in the study by Dhallan and colleagues1 on enhancing recovery of cell-free DNA in maternal blood have major clinical implications. Developing a reliable, transportable technology for cell-free DNA analysis impacts 2 crucial areas—prenatal genetic diagnosis and cancer detection and surveillance. In prenatal genetic diagnosis, detecting a fetal abnormality without an invasive procedure (or with fewer invasive procedures) is a major advantage. Likewise in cancer surveillance (eg, in patients with leukemia), monitoring treatment without having to perform a bone marrow aspiration for karyotype also would be of great benefit.

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