Reproductive & Maternal Health Resource Center

Reproductive & Maternal Health Resource Center

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Press Release

Disclosures: Lash is employed by the NIBIB. Pisarska reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
September 13, 2021
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Researchers develop blood test for life-threatening placental disorder

Source:

Press Release

Disclosures: Lash is employed by the NIBIB. Pisarska reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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A new blood test could rapidly identify placenta accreta spectrum disorder, according to researchers.

The test was developed by an international team from the University of California, Los Angeles; Cedars Sinai Medical Center; the University of Utah; and research institutions in China, with the support of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the NIH. It can be performed in the first trimester, allowing for early referrals to specialists. The test uses a technology called the NanoVelcro Chip, which was originally created to detect tumors in the blood of patients with cancer but was adapted to detect placenta cells in maternal blood samples, including a type of cell associated with the onset of placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) disorder, according to a press release.

Afshar Y, et al. Nat Commun. 2021;doi:10.1038/s41467-021-24627-2.
Afshar Y, et al. Nat Commun. 2021;doi:10.1038/s41467-021-24627-2.

“Recent population studies have shown that half to two‐thirds of cases of PAS disorders remain undiagnosed before delivery, highlighting the crucial need to develop new technologies for prenatal detection,” Margareta D. Pisarska, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Cedars Sinai, said in the release. “Our study demonstrates a promising noninvasive technology for detecting PAS that does not rely on expensive imaging instruments or expertise, making it accessible for a range of point-of-care settings, including in low-resource areas.”

Researchers said the test, which can produce results in less than 24 hours, is designed to fit easily within the workflow of facilities that provide prenatal care. It requires 2 mL of blood, and the trophoblasts and trophoblast clusters that are captured by the test chip are counted using a fluorescent microscope to gauge a patient’s risk for PAS.

According to a study of more than 100 women, the blood test had 83.8% probability for confirming the presence of placenta accreta and 92% probability for ruling it out in a negative test result.

“The development of this type of innovative, yet simple test for PAS is an outstanding example of the types of technologies that the NIBIB supports to improve maternal and prenatal care worldwide,” Tiffani Lash, PhD, program director of the NIBIB Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network, said in the release.

Reference:

Afshar Y, et al. Nat Commun. 2021;doi:10.1038/s41467-021-24627-2.