News Brief by Kathryn Gibb
Researchers at Stanford University have recently discovered a new way to test for cystic fibrosis in newborns. Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease in the United States and requires inheriting a mutated gene from each parent. The disease causes a buildup of mucus in lungs and other organs. The development of this new test is important in that it can be conducted faster, cheaper, and more accurately than the previous test. The previous method took approximately two weeks and didn’t measure the entire gene, leaving the possibility for a mutation to go unidentified. However, the new test involves extracting DNA from a dried blood sample, with the ability to detect the mutations in one step and in half the time of the previous test. The accuracy of this test is important to the development of cystic fibrosis in that early detection of the disease allows physicians to prevent certain complications. Validation studies must be completed to ensure that the test will be reliable for larger scale before the test is adopted for use. The hope is that this test can then be adapted to test for other genetic diseases in the future.
Stanford University. "Fast, accurate cystic fibrosis test developed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160204151459.htm>.