Prenatal Screening with the Production of Iranian Cell-Free DNA Tubes

According to SINA Press, now the knowledge of this technology is in the possession of Iranian researchers and only needs industrial support and government encouragement to be tested for quality check in order to reach mass production.

Cell-free DNA tubes or Non-Invasive Prenatal Test known as NIPT is the best type of genetic test before birth; This test helps a lot in diagnosing the risk of genetic abnormalities and chromosomal disorders.
Each human has 23 pairs of chromosomes that are made up of DNA and carry genetic information. Any change in the number of these chromosomes causes disorders and abnormalities. Down syndrome is currently the most common type of trisomy that is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome at birth; Down syndrome (trisomy 21) is caused by an extra chromosome in the pair of chromosomes 21.

An extra copy of chromosome 18 also causes a syndrome called Edward (trisomy 18) and an extra copy of chromosome 13 causes Patau's syndrome (trisomy 13). Therefore, prenatal screening is very important to prevent these diseases during pregnancy.
Cell-free DNA tubes or NIPT is currently the best form of prenatal genetic testing; This test is very helpful in diagnosing the risk of abnormalities such as Down syndrome, Patau's syndrome, and Edward syndrome, as well as identifying sexual disorders caused by abnormalities on a number of X and Y chromosomes.

In this test, specialists look for small pieces of DNA in a pregnant mother's blood to detect genetic diseases and chromosomal abnormalities before the baby is born. Currently, the technology of this type of experiment is only monopolized by a few developed countries in the world. 

The importance of this issue has led the researchers of the Reproductive Genetics Research Group of the East Azerbaijan Jahad-e Daneshgahi to make cell-free DNA tubes in order to meet part of the community's needs.

Dr. Jafar Mohseni, head of the East Azerbaijan Jahad-e Daneshgahi, told SINA Press: "Currently, prenatal screening should be carried out during pregnancy to prevent chromosomal diseases and genetic disorders. This technology in all stages from the blood sampling to the test results are imported."

This need caused the East Azerbaijan branch of Jahad-e Daneshgahi Unit to seek the production of cell-free tubes for NIPT testing; These tubes contain a series of special anticoagulants and preservatives that prevent the loss of low concentrations of DNA. We have now been able to identify and produce these preservatives as one of the main parameters of this blood sampling.

He added: "Now this product is completely competitive with similar foreign samples in terms of price and quality; The price of this product is estimated to be around 2.5 USD (70,000 tomans) while the price of the Chinese brand in the market is 7.5 USD (200,000 tomans) and the American one is 11.5 USD (300,000 tomans)."

"Every year, about 100,000 blood samples are sent out of the country for this test," he said. Also, in order to perform this type of test, cell-free DNA tubes must be imported from the producing countries, and the price of these products fluctuates a lot. Our main goal in producing these tubes is to reduce the outflow of financial resources from the country.

He pointed out: "Now the knowledge of producing this technology is at the disposal of Iranian researchers and we need the support and trust of the industry and government so that this product will reach mass production."

"One hundred samples of these tubes have now been produced," he told SINA Press. The results of laboratory tests have shown that this domestic product is no different from similar foreign competitors, so we expect the licensing process of this product by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education to be facilitated and to be supported by the government to reach the production stage.

Reported by: Farzaneh Sedghi
Translated by: Mehdi Fallahi Panah

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