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Science. 2018 Jun 8;360(6393):1133-1136. doi: 10.1126/science.aar3819.

Noninvasive blood tests for fetal development predict gestational age and preterm delivery.

Author information

1
Departments of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Stanford University and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
2
Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen 2300, Denmark.
3
Department of Statistics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
4
Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
5
Maternal and Child Health Research Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
6
Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
7
Center for Women's Reproductive Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
8
Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen 2300, Denmark. quake@stanford.edu mmelbye@stanford.edu.
9
Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
10
Departments of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Stanford University and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. quake@stanford.edu mmelbye@stanford.edu.

Abstract

Noninvasive blood tests that provide information about fetal development and gestational age could potentially improve prenatal care. Ultrasound, the current gold standard, is not always affordable in low-resource settings and does not predict spontaneous preterm birth, a leading cause of infant death. In a pilot study of 31 healthy pregnant women, we found that measurement of nine cell-free RNA (cfRNA) transcripts in maternal blood predicted gestational age with comparable accuracy to ultrasound but at substantially lower cost. In a related study of 38 women (23 full-term and 15 preterm deliveries), all at elevated risk of delivering preterm, we identified seven cfRNA transcripts that accurately classified women who delivered preterm up to 2 months in advance of labor. These tests hold promise for prenatal care in both the developed and developing worlds, although they require validation in larger, blinded clinical trials.

PMID:
29880692
DOI:
10.1126/science.aar3819
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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