Researchers using IT to simulate clinical trials for newborn screenings

New research set to be conducted by the University of Michigan could affect the kinds of tests used to screen newborns for various harmful diseases and disorders, the school announced this week. The research will be funded by a $2.5 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Comparative effectiveness data will be gathered using computer simulated clinical trials, which will determine the best and most cost-efficient ways to test for two inherited disorders--Pompe disease, which effects heart and skeletal muscles, and Phenylketonuria (PKU), which can cause developmental delays in children--as well as Krabbe disease, which impacts the nervous system.

"New technology has made it easier and less expensive to screen newborns for additional disorders," lead study author Lisa Prosser, Ph.D., says. "It's important to recognize both the benefits and the costs of newborn screening programs."

Efforts already are underway to make mandatory another newborn screening test--pulse oximetry--which uses light technology to determine the amount of oxygen in the blood. In Florida, a state senate bill would add pulse-oximetry testing to a list of 35 other tests conducted in newborns, the Sun Sentinel reports.

What's more, some people lobbied Congress in Washington, D.C., this week to require such testing on a national scale, WBNG News reports.

According to a recent article in The Daily Iowan, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services last year started recommending that hospitals conduct the procedure. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics just began performing the tests, making it the first facility in that state to do so.

Overall, the genetic testing market is one that is likely to grow in the near future. A new report from Global Industry Analysts, Inc. predicts the genetic testing market will reach $2.2 billion within five years.

To learn more:
- here's the U. of Michigan announcement
- read the Global Industry Analysts' annnouncement
- check out the Sun Sentinel article
- here's the WBNG News piece
- read this article in The Daily Iowan


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