Samitivej in cooperation with N Health and a team of specialists from Ramathibodi Hospital has achieved success in identifying 600 genetic disorders which can be passed from a father or mother to their child. This pioneering technique enables parents to be sure of having a healthy baby.
Dr.Chairat Panthuraamphorn, Managing Director and CEO of Samitivej Public Company Limited, said that testing for disorders inherited by a child from the father or mother was a major medical achievement in Thailand and is the result of cooperation between the public and private sectors, including a research team from the Medical Genome Center at Ramathibodi Hospital under the support by the Thailand Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), Leader Medical Genetics and Genomics company (LMGG), the Thai Reproductive Genetic Company (TRG), N-Health and Samitivej Hospital.
“According to statistics, about 7 in 100 people have a chance of genetic disorders that can be passed on to their children,” said Dr. Chairat. “Some people suffer from the disorders or are carriers of the disorders, so their babies are born unhealthy and cannot be cured, which may be costly. The common inherited disorders in Thailand include thalassemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophies, spinal muscular atrophy, and haemophilia, etc. This genetic screening reduces the risk of genetic disorders in newborns and helps identify the healthy embryos for parents who are experiencing infertility problems or at risk of genetic disorders.”
Dr.Boonsaeng Wutthiphan, an obstetrician and gynecologist with specialities in reproductive medicine and gynecologic endoscopic surgery, explained that this technology can be used for 2 cases. Firstly, this technique is used for couples wanting to have a child but who are over the age of 35, have genetic disorders, are carriers of disorders, have a family history of genetic disorders, or had their first child with genetic disorders and now plan to have their second one. Secondly, this technique is used for couples who are experiencing infertility problems. In these cases, genetic disease free embryos can be selected for implantation, so as to ensure that the baby is healthy.
The technique involves doctors examining DNA extracted from the blood or cheek cells of the couple, their relatives, the embryo and the amniotic fluid so as to check for abnormalities. The testing takes about 3-6 months to complete and can be performed at 3 phases:
In the past, newborns could only be screened for thalassemia and no other conditions causing disabilities could be detected. Otherwise, when a first child was born with disorders, the parents would be examined to determine whether they were carriers of the disorders, resulting in reluctance for these couples to have a 2nd child. However, if parents know that they are carriers of certain disorders or are at risk of having children with genetic disorders, they can avoid passing on genetic abnormalities through IVF technology and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.
Samitivej and collaborating medical research organizations are holding an event to mark this research achievement. The event provides information on the situation regarding current genetic disorders and the new hope for families at risk of genetic disorders. “Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Technology in Prenatal Screening” is being hosted by Dr. Boonsaeng Wutthiphan, an obstetrician and gynecologist with specialities in reproductive medicine and gynecologic endoscopic surgery, and Dr. Objoon Trachoo, a specialist in medical genetics from N Health.
This research is 95% accurate in solving genetic abnormalities passed on from a father or mother to their child. It is another medical achievement that will bring happiness and health in the family by preventing genetic disorders in children. The genetic code can be compared to a book of life that can tell our future.