Project: RAPID

Reliable Accurate Prenatal non-Invasive Diagnosis

If you would like to see more projects like this please donate using the button above

RAPID - Reliable Accurate Prenatal non-Invasive Diagnosis  is an NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) funded programme which aims to improve the quality of NHS prenatal diagnostic services. Genetic Alliance UK s participation will ensure that the views and needs of parents and patients are properly accounted for well before this new technology reaches the clinic.

The project will evaluate early non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) based on cell free fetal (cff) DNA and RNA extracted from maternal plasma. The project will confirm laboaratory standards, evaluate cost effectiveness, determine parents and health professional views and needs, consider the wider social and ethical issues and develop an education plan for health professionals and the public.

Currently, couples who know they are at risk of having a child affected by a genetic condition, can opt to take a diagnostic test such as an amniocentesis or CVS during pregnancy, to collect a sample of the fetus's genetic material. These invasive tests carry a small but significant risk of miscarriage (up to 1%) and can only be performed after 11 weeks into pregnancy. During pregnancy, the fetus's DNA circulates in the mother's blood. Non Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis (NIPD) allows us to use a normal blood sample taken from the mother's arm to determine whether the fetus has a particular genetic condition. Because it is a simple blood test, there is no risk of miscarriage and testing will be possible earlier in pregnancy.

NIPD tests to identify specific genetic conditions caused by changes in a single gene such as cystic fibrosis, haemophilia and beta-thalassaemia, or for chromosomal conditions such as Down's syndrome, are being developed. Before NIPD can be introduced into routine clinical practice, it is important to investigate the preferences and information requirements of service users who have used or may consider using this new test in the future. Genetic Alliance UK's participation will be to ensure that the views and needs of service users are properly accounted for well before this new technology reaches the clinic.

The project will run for five years and started in June 2009.

For more information on the RAPID project please look on the project website or contact