Early development for pregnant screening was developed in the 1950’s with ultrasound followed by amniocentesis. Maternal blood contains a host of fetal biomarkers that can be used for screening or diagnosis when combined with improved and reliable cell capture, thus removing risks associated with amniocentesis, relieving patient stress and discomfort.
Over the past two years several studies have demonstrated the feasibility of isolating fetal trophoblasts from a maternal blood sample and highlighted the potential of trophoblast isolation and fetal genome analysis as the first truly diagnostic screen. Isolation methods previously reported generally required large volumes of maternal blood and resulted in very low numbers of fetal cell recovery.
LiquidScan uses maternal blood from a standard blood draw to pass through antibody-surfaced microfluidic chips. Fetal cells present in the maternal blood are affinity captured by the antibodies allowing “background” cells to be washed away. Once washing is complete the fetal cells are released from the bound chips and eluted into collection tubes or slides, within the automated LiquidScan system. It is the unique LiquidScan catch-and-release that makes for the first time cbNIPT possible.