Silicon Biosystems

    Fetal Cell Biology

    Exploring the fetal cell genome

    Today, the standard of care in fetal genetic diagnostic testing requires fetal cells be obtained by amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, procedures that are risky for both the fetus and the mother. While recent advances have been made in the detection of aneuploidies based on analysis of cell-free fetal DNA, a non-invasive method to isolate intact, pure fetal cells would enable a full range of diagnostic tests, since the entire nuclear content of the fetal cells would be available for analysis.

    Research has shown that intact fetal cells can be found in maternal blood. However, these cells are very rare and, to date, challenging to distinguish from maternal cells due to lack of validated, highly specific fetal cell biomarkers. Investigations aimed at identification of new fetal cell-specific biomarkers that could be used to differentiate fetal cells with the sensitivity necessary for use in routine testing requires the ability to isolate, recover, and analyze pure fetal cells.

    The DEPArray™ system: enabling fetal biomarker research

    The DEPArray™ system is an ideal enabling technology that aids researchers seeking to identify and validate novel fetal cell biomarkers that could ultimately be used for non-invasive prenatal diagnostic (NIPD) testing. The DEPArray™ system can recover a variety of rare putative fetal cells, such as trophoblasts and nucleated erythrocytes, and verify the isolated cells as fetal in origin through STR profiling of whole genome amplified (WGA) DNA. The technology thus allows researchers to recover and analyze multiple pure, unique cell types in the search for fetal biomarkers for NIPD testing.

    The intact cells isolated with DEPArray™ technology are suitable for a wide range of downstream analyses, including

    • Aneuploidy detection
    • SNP/mutation analysis
    • CNV studies
    • STR profiling
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