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Prof. Kypros Nicolaides Visits Thermo Fisher Scientific in Hennigsdorf

Published on: 12/1/2011

Prof. Kypros Nicolaides, director of the Fetal Medicine Centre and founder of the Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF, London), visited the Thermo Scientific Biomarkers site in Hennigsdorf (near Berlin) on 1 December 2011.

‘We are very pleased to welcome Prof. Nicolaides’, said Juergen Srega, general manager of Thermo Scientific Biomarkers.  ‘The intensive information exchange with the FMF aids us in better understanding the requirements of physicians and patients and incorporating them in our research’, Srega continued.

Prof. Nicolaides had the opportunity to satisfy himself of the company’s very high quality standards in person during an extensive tour of the plant. After the tour, he received detailed information on such subjects as the Fast Screen software update (B•R•A•H•M•S Fast Screen pre I plus V 1.3) and the current research and distribution projects in the field of prenatal screening (PNS).

The discussions at the meeting focused on stepping up the cooperation in research and development in the field of PNS. Among other things, the particular importance of assay quality for precise risk calculation in pregnant women was clearly highlighted. The greater the accuracy in determining the individual risk is, the greater the certainty with which pregnant women can be advised on the further course of action will be. ‘The requirements for the quality of consultation are very demanding’, affirmed Dr. Gabriele Grunow, Global Marketing Manager Thermo Scientific Biomarkers. ‘The mothers-to-be have to understand the difference between diagnosis and screening. Further examinations such as amniocentesis (amniotic fluid test) need to be conducted for the diagnostics’, Grunow continued.

Both parties have made a goal of living up to the highest quality demands in the field of prenatal screening, promoting prenatal medicine and advancing research and development. Prof. Nicolaides’ visit is another successful step in long-term collaboration and professional exchange between Thermo Scientific Biomarkers and the Fetal Medicine Foundation.

Background information:
A variety of examinations are conducted during prenatal screening in order to detect childhood illnesses or genetic defects (such as trisomy 21) at an early stage. These include blood tests and ultrasound examinations (nuchal translucency measurement). The risk of trisomy 21 (Down's syndrome) can already be detected during the first trimester with approximately 90% accuracy.
The goal of first-trimester screenings is to minimise the potential risks to the expecting mother’s health through dependable and high-quality risk assessment. This supplementary examination means that invasive examination methods can be reduced to a minimum.
The FMF recommends a special verification procedure to calculate the risk of chromosome anomalies. This certified procedure is used to biochemically determine the proteins PAPP-A (pregnancy-associated plasma protein A) and free ß-HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). The ultrasound examination of nuchal translucency, the mother’s age, week of pregnancy and medical history are also incorporated into the combined calculation. This method is subjected to strict inspections and guidelines. In order for the FMF first trimester screening to be certified, both the doctor and the laboratory must undergo tests every year. Participation in this quality concept from the FMF with the corresponding certification is voluntary.

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