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J Clin Immunol. 2012 Feb;32(1):82-8. doi: 10.1007/s10875-011-9609-4. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency; the Wisconsin experience (2008-2011).

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.


Severe combined immunodeficiency is a life-threatening primary immune deficiency characterized by low numbers of naïve T cells. Early diagnosis and treatment of this disease decreases mortality. In 2008, Wisconsin began newborn screening of infants for severe combined immunodeficiency and other forms of T-cell lymphopenia by the T-cell receptor excision circle assay. In total, 207,696 infants were screened. Seventy-two infants had an abnormal assay. T-cell numbers were normal in 38 infants, abnormal in 33 infants, and not performed in one infant, giving a positive predictive value for T-cell lymphopenia of any cause of 45.83% and a specificity of 99.98%. Five infants with severe combined immunodeficiency/severe T-cell lymphopenia requiring hematopoietic stem cell transplantation or other therapy were detected. In summary, the T-cell receptor excision circle assay is a sensitive and specific test to identify infants with severe combined immunodeficiency and severe T-cell lymphopenia that leads to life-saving therapies such as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation prior to the acquisition of severe infections.

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