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Current issues in neonatal screening for cystic fibrosis and implications of the CF gene discovery.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Many questions remain regarding the efficacy, toxicity, and costs of CF neonatal screening. It would be premature, in our opinion, to implement mass population screening of newborns for CF until the benefits and risks have been fully defined, and an adequate and logistically feasible testing system developed and/or highly effective therapy for CF lung disease becomes available. In addition, the ethical issues described herein need to be resolved. This pertains not only to the CF patient but also the heterozygote carrier. These reservations notwithstanding, the discovery of the CF gene should have a favorable impact both directly and indirectly on neonatal screening for the disease. Mutation analysis coupled to IRT testing seems most attractive at this time, at least on a research basis, but primary molecular diagnostic procedures might supervene in the future, particularly if they are financially feasible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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