Pap smear can reveal genetic disorders in early pregnancy: researchers say

Pap smear can reveal genetic disorders in early pregnancy: researchers say

A simple Papanicolaou (Pap) smear can allow doctors to carryout prenatal screening for genetic disorders as early as five weeks into a pregnancy, according to a new research.

The new strategy includes an analysis of DNA from trophoblasts shed into the endocervical canal (ECC). It is capable of distinguishing fetal DNA in twenty consecutive samples. The strategy has paved the way for an enhanced route to prenatal screening and testing at a really early state of pregnancy.

Dr. James Byrne, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and chairperson of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, said, “This would be very well accepted by physicians and patients, provided the technology is verified and endorsed as safe by a national organization, such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

In addition, the new method of targeting DNA sequencing of fetal cells from Pap smears has conquered the technical challenge of zeroing in on the fetal contribution among much more copious maternal cells as well as their DNA.

The existing prenatal screening tests that are in widespread use have several limitations, such as they are invasive and can’t be used at an early stage of pregnancy.

The encouraging findings of the new research were reported in the November 2nd edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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