By Ron Shinkman, Editor, Laboratory Industry Report
Natera, the California-based molecular diagnostics company, said it has tweaked its Panorama prenatal test to identify so-called molar pregnancies during the first trimester.
Molar pregnancies, which occur in about one in every 1,000 pregnancies, occur when both sets of chromosomes are from the father. Such pregnancies, which almost always end in a miscarriage, can be connected to hemorrhaging, damage to the uterus and even cases of metastatic cancer in the mother.
Natera’s test uses fetal cell-free DNA obtained from maternal blood. Traditional testing for molar pregnancies uses a chromosomal count, which is not always accurate and is often extremely difficult until the gestation is past the first trimester.
The Natera test is 99 percent reliable and includes a five-day turnaround time.
“We are pleased that Panorama can identify a complete molar pregnancy at such an early stage, and allow physicians to take potentially life-saving measures when necessary for the health of expecting mothers,” Susan Gross, M.D., chief medical officer of Natera and lead author of the paper, said in a statement.
The study was published in the most recent edition of the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology.