Empire Genomics and Reprogenetics have announced data supporting a new technique to significantly improve the identification of genetic and chromosomal abnormalities from just a single or small group of embryonic cell(s). The microarray-based technology from Empire Genomics, tested and developed for in vitro fertilization in partnership with Reprogenetics, has multiple advantages when applied to PGD:
• The test has the ability to screen all chromosomes – conventional techniques typically selectively screen approximately half.
• The test can be performed during the standard timeline of IVF with a one day turnaround time.
• It can successfully be performed with the genetic material of a single cell sample.
• It works rapidly and efficiently for preimplantation use with in vitro fertilization.
The data will be presented jointly by Empire Genomics and Reprogenetics at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the ASRM in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, October 17, 2007.
"We are convinced this new technology will enable us to improve screening for genetic defects as well as improve the pregnancy outcome for patients undergoing IVF by reducing spontaneous abortions and genetically affected conceptions," said Santiago Munne, Ph.D., Reprogenetics director.
"Currently PGD requires highly skilled and experienced embryologists to process the cells for the current technology. This new technology simplifies this step making PGD more accessible to IVF centers and their patients."
Empire Genomics has developed a technology called array-based Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH) that determines gains or losses of genetic material to streamline screening for chromosomal defects such as Down's syndrome.
DNA microarray technology places DNA representing genes and chromosomes on a slide for comparison with a normal set, and the Reprogenetics and Empire Genomics collaboration has resulted in the successful application of this technology to preimplantation genetic screening.