About the PEGASUS project
PEGASUS acronym is for «PErsonalized Genomics for prenatal Aneuploidy Screening USing maternal blood»
Each year, 450,000 Canadian women become pregnant and, as a result of their participation in prenatal screening for Down syndrome, approximately 10,000 of them will have an amniocentesis (i.e. sampling of liquid surrounding the fetus) because of a high risk of carrying a fetus with Down syndrome and of those, 315 will be found to carry a baby with Down syndrome and up to 70 normal pregnancies will be lost from complications of the procedure. It has been discovered recently that, during pregnancy, there is fetal DNA in maternal blood in sufficient quantities to be analysed and methods have been proposed to detect the presence or not of a fetus with Down syndrome using maternal blood...
The introduction of genomic-based prenatal screening using maternal blood as will be evaluated in the context of this project could lead to increased detection of Down syndrome, less invasive screening with up to 9000 amniocenteses procedures avoided each year in Canada, and potentially improve the peace of mind of pregnant women, and preventing the accidental loss of up to 70 normal fetuses, likely at a lower overall cost than current practice.