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NIH Provides Funds for GSN's Prenatal Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genetic testing firm Gene Security Network has received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a clinical trial for its non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) technology.

GSN will use the funding to conduct a randomized clinical trial for its Parental Support NIPD test. The research phase of the clinical study has already begun, and the prospective trial is scheduled to start later this year, the Redwood, Calif.-based company said.

GSN expects its NIPD test to be able to detect several genetic disorders, including Down syndrome, by testing blood drawn from the mother in the first trimester of pregnancy for very small amounts of fetal DNA.

"Most pregnant women undergo blood analyte screening, which results in thousands of unnecessary invasive procedures like amniocentesis and still fails to detect roughly 15 percent of babies with Down Syndrome," GSN CEO Matthew Rabinowitz said in a statement.

Rabinowitz said that the Parental Support tool could "substantially reduce the number of invasive prenatal procedures and undetected cases of Down syndrome.

"GSN's approach of pairing advanced biostatistics with molecular testing is unique and holds immense promise to achieve clinically useful results," Ronald Wapner, director of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Columbia University and a chief investigator working with GSN on the project, said in the statement.