Bioethics News

Secrets of Life in a Spoonful of Blood

February 15, 2017

(Nature) – Until now, much of the work has relied on amniotic or placental samples obtained during routine invasive tests such as amniocentesis. But scientists are eyeing the next step: studies that are non-invasive for the fetus and are done on a teaspoonful of blood drawn from a pregnant woman’s arm. In this way, researchers could monitor fetuses as they develop and, down the line, develop non-invasive tests for a broad range of conditions, in both fetus and mother. Physicians are already moving towards treating fetuses in the womb on the basis of such diagnoses. “It’s an exciting time,” says Mark Kilby, a fetal-medicine specialist at the University of Birmingham, UK.

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