LIVINGSTON, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 07/09/13 -- Reprogenetics, one of the largest providers of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) services announced today that one of their researchers Dr. Dagan Wells of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Oxford, UK, Reprogenetics UK and Reprogenetics LLC, has been acknowledged by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), in London, UK for his work in the area of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). His research led to the first ever successful birth of a baby through this unique science revealing extensive genetic information derived from human embryos. This impressive science can significantly impact the process for, and success rate of, embryo selection for in vitro fertilization in the future.
"Reprogenetics congratulates Dr. Wells on his outstanding accomplishment to genetic analysis and achieving this monumental goal in the reproductive space," said Dr. Jacques Cohen, Reprogenetics Scientific Director. "We are proud of the quality team we have established including Dr. Wells who all play an integral role in us reaching the goal of predicting viability of embryos with our NGS technique, and what it can ultimately mean for patients."
About the study
To test the accuracy and predictability of NGS, the international study conducted in the UK in collaboration with IVF clinics in the USA used a technique that has never before been applied in the screening of human embryos. The study looked at multiple cells from cell lines known to have chromosomal abnormalities, genetic defects (cystic fibrosis), or other mutations (n=30). Further, in a blinded portion of the study, investigators used the new NGS technique to re-examine 45 embryos in which abnormalities had previously been identified by other methods. Once the accuracy of the new technique was demonstrated, it was applied clinically, with cells sampled from seven five-day old embryos produced by two couples undergoing IVF. The mothers were 35 and 39 years old, and one had a history of miscarriage (total 82 embryos).
The outcome validated the NGS technique, with 100% of samples yielding results (82/82). NGS accurately identified abnormalities in those cells that had been previously identified as having them. And, in the clinical setting, NGS revealed 3/5 viable embryos from the first couple and 2/2 from the second. Single embryo transfers based on these results led to healthy pregnancies for both couples. The first pregnancy ended with the delivery of a healthy boy, Connor Levy, last month and the other is ongoing.
Dr. Wells noted that the cost of NGS, which enables simultaneous testing for a variety of abnormalities, is significantly lower than that of existing screening methods, suggesting that this technique may ultimately bring genetic analysis within reach for a much larger number of patients.
"We greatly admire the vision, drive and perseverance demonstrated by Dr. Wells and his team. This study validates an important new approach to genetic analysis, and we look forward to working with them and pursuing this research further," said Dr. Jamie Grifo, of NYU and a participant in the study.
About Embryo Screening
According to ESHRE, on average, only about 30% of embryos selected for transfer actually result in a viable pregnancy. Although the precise reason is unknown, researchers believe that unidentified genetic or chromosomal abnormalities are in part responsible for this low success rate. Genetic screening methods introduced in recent years are helpful, but still have multiple drawbacks when used in a clinical setting.
In PGS, embryos created through in-vitro fertilization are tested for chromosomal abnormalities prior to replacement in a woman's uterus. This process allows the reproductive endocrinologist to select only chromosomally healthy embryos for replacement with the goal of increasing the chance of successful implantation, reducing spontaneous abortion, reducing the chance for a fetus to have a chromosomal abnormality and improving delivery rates for assisted reproduction.
Chromosome abnormalities are the primary cause of miscarriage and failure to implant. This percentage increases with maternal age, and studies have shown that 82% of embryos from women 40 years and older will be chromosomally abnormal. However, once normal (euploid) embryos are selected, they implant equally well at any age up to 42 years of age.
Reprogenetics is a genetics laboratory specialized in Reproductive Medicine and a pioneer and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Dr. Santiago Munné and Dr. Jacques Cohen founded Reprogenetics in the year 2000 after extensive experience in PGD and IVF, with more than 24,000 PGD procedures performed so far, and with branches in 7 countries. Reprogenetics offers a comprehensive and personalized service to its referring IVF centers and their patients. Genetic counselors are intricately involved in the process and interact routinely with the patients pursuing all PGD tests.
Green Room Public Relations
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