Thalassemia is a significant health problem worldwide. There are two main classifications, α- and β-thalassemias, which are usually caused by the defective synthesis of the α-globin, and which are commonly caused by different mutations of the β-globin chain. Different hemoglobin mutations have been identified to date. Thalassemias can result in profound anemia from early life and, if not treated with regular blood transfusions, can lead to death in the first year. Prenatal diagnosis of thalassemia is the essential part of preventive medicine and is currently dependent on the use of invasive diagnostic tests within the first 2 months of pregnancy. These diagnostic techniques carry a small but significant risk of fetal loss up to 1%. Molecular diagnostic methods have been developed for genotyping thalassemias based on PCR techniques and high-throughput technologies. Noninvasive tests using cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from a maternal blood sample is also an alternative method, thus eliminating the risk of miscarriage. This chapter summarizes the current invasive approaches and the noninvasive methods using cell-free fetal DNA as new molecular diagnostic methods for genotypic diagnosis of thalassemia in clinical practice. Prevention strategies that encompass carrier screening, genetic counseling, and prenatal diagnosis are discussed.
Part of the book: Thalassemia and Other Hemolytic Anemias
Prenatal detection of the fetal RHD status in early stage of pregnancy is observed to be useful in the management of RhD incompatibility to identify fetuses at risk of hemolytic disease. The routine use of antenatal and postnatal anti-D prophylaxis reduces the incidence of hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn. Cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma is in use today for routine genotyping fetal RHD status. Fetal RhD antigens can be detected in the blood of RhD-negative pregnant women using a nanopolymer-coated biosensor and could be an alternative method for medical diagnosis. We detected RhD-positive fetal antibodies with biosensor in maternal blood of RhD-negative mothers. The electrochemical measurements were performed on a PalmSens potentiostat and corundum ceramic-based screen-printed gold electrode. The demonstrated method has a different view for the detection of fetal RhD status in early pregnancy. The biosensor technology is useful and can be carried out rapidly in clinical diagnosis. Biosensors are also reproducible methods which give results quickly compared to noninvasive fetal RHD genotyping with real-time PCR-based techniques. We suggest that this method could become an alternative part of fetal RHD genotyping from maternal plasma as a prenatal screening in the management of RhD incompatibility.
Part of the book: Blood Groups