Prenatal Genetic Screening: The First Italian Pole at Tor Vergata

Bioscience Genomics, a spin-off by the University of Rome Tor Vergata set up through an agreement with BGI and Bioscience Institute, becomes operational.

Parents will be able to access information on risks due to the most common chromosomal diseases thanks to a non-invasive genetic screening: a simple maternal blood sampling will suffice, implying no risks for the foetus and basing on free foetal DNA sequencing via fragments circulating in maternal blood. The test (called G-test) was developed through an agreement among the Chinese BGI, i.e. the world's largest genomics group, the Bioscience Institute of San Marino and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Such test on maternal plasma DNA was validated by numerous studies published in prestigious international scientific journals, which acknowledged a screening accuracy level exceeding 99%. For the first time a 360° approach is applied: from screening to diagnosis to genetic counselling. The whole analysis process takes place at Bioscience Genomics within the University of Tor Vergata and in cooperation with the Complex Operational Unit for Medical Genetics of Tor Vergata University Polyclinic.
‘Our brand new laboratories represent a short chain model with extremely important implications: we produce, distribute and analyse G-tests in Italy pursuant to strict Italian and European regulatory standards’, explains Professor Giuseppe Novelli, Rector of Tor Vergata and geneticist. ‘Secondly, we can rigorously manage pieces of information that are now considered sensitive, such as genetic data from pregnant women and unborn children. As a matter of fact, Bioscience Genomics operates complying with ethical code directives basing on informed consent, respect for privacy and data protection, as such data are stored in a dedicated bank’.
Bioscience Genomics is also developing a further genomics platform identical to that in Rome at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, which will be ready early next autumn. This aims at a wider covering of local areas and at extending genetic assistance to Northern Italy through a geographically strategic, authoritative centre.