Centre for Research into Circulating Fetal Nucleic Acids

Funding approved: HK$31.28M

Indicative project time-frame: 2008–2015

Prenatal diagnosis is an indispensable component of maternity health care. Definitive diagnostic methods in current use, e.g., amniocentesis, are invasive and pose a risk to the unborn child. In 1997, the project coordinator and his research team discovered, for the first time, the presence of fetal DNA in the plasma of pregnant women, offering new possibilities for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis. This method is now used globally. The Center, as a conglomerate of local and international researchers coordinated by CUHK, addresses a number of high-profile unsolved questions, including non-invasive molecular methods for the diagnosis of fetal Down syndrome. The ultimate goal is to make safe prenatal diagnosis available around the world.