The possibility to isolate intact circulating fetal cells from pregnant women for direct analysis of fetal chromosomes and unfragmented DNA offers an exciting alternative to the conventional invasive procedures, like chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis that are still required for prenatal diagnosis.

The identification and isolation of fetal cells in maternal blood remains challenging, given both the paucity of known surface antigens, exclusively expressed on fetal cells, and the rarity of the circulating fetal cells in maternal circulation.

Using the Menarini SiliconBiosystems technologies we have developed several new methods which combine the enrichment of circulating fetal cells from maternal blood and the unique sorting capabilities of the DEPArray™platform.

To validate the proof of concept, a robust protocol to recover either fetal throphoblasts or fetal erythroblasts from maternal blood has been developed, together with novel biomarkers for the selection with theDEPArray™platform.