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LifeLabs first lab in Canada to perform Panorama NIPT screening for microdeletions

LifeLabs first lab in Canada to perform Panorama NIPT screening for microdeletions
To screen for genetic syndromes that can have major health impacts to babies

Monday, July 18, 2016 – LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services ("LifeLabs") is pleased to announce that all Panorama Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) options, including microdeletions, are now performed at their genetics lab in Toronto. The Panorama NIPT is the most accurate prenatal screening test available and decreases the need for invasive tests like amniocentesis in many pregnancies. LifeLabs has performed one of three available Panorama tests at its genetics lab since October 2015, and the addition of microdeletion testing means that LifeLabs is the first and only Canadian laboratory to offer prenatal screening for microdeletions and perform NIPT in Canada.

"Performing NIPT, including microdeletions, at our Canadian lab means providing pregnant women with important information about their fetus more quickly and with less risk," said Dr. Ron Carter, Director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at LifeLabs. "This makes it easier for Canadian women to get testing done where they live and have access to expert opinions and support from individuals that are familiar with our medical system."

Panorama NIPT looks at the baby's DNA through a simple blood test from the mother and screens for Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities caused by extra or missing chromosomes. Microdeletion syndromes are caused by a small missing piece of a chromosome and can have major health impacts on babies, including intellectual disabilities, heart and breathing issues, immune system problems, trouble feeding, and other problems that may need immediate care upon birth. Panorama offers the option to screen for five clinically-relevant microdeletion syndromes that occur with a combined incidence of approximately 1 in every 1,000 births. Unlike Down syndrome and other conditions where risk increases with the age of the mother, microdeletions present the same risk for pregnant women of all ages. In most microdeletion cases, there is no previous family history. No other prenatal screening currently exists for microdeletion syndromes and the majority of microdeletions have no obvious signs on prenatal ultrasounds.

In Ontario the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care covers the cost of the basic Panorama Prenatal Test for expectant mothers who are considered high-risk and meet certain criteria. This test screens for abnormalities involving chromosomes 21, 18, 13, X and Y, and triploidy.  Microdeletion testing is considered an add-on to the basic Panorama Prenatal Test and is available on a private pay basis, as are all Panorama testing options for women at lower risk for fetal chromosome abnormalities.

Patients should consult with their health care provider to determine if Panorama is right for them. The test can be ordered by health care providers across Canada. The test consists of a simple blood draw that can be collected at any LifeLabs collection centre in BC or Ontario. Collection options also exist in other provinces. For more information about the Panorama Non-Invasive Prenatal Test and LifeLabs Genetics, patients and health care providers should visit or call 1 84 GENE HELP (1 844 363 4357).


About LifeLabs:

LifeLabs is a Canadian-owned company with over 50 years of experience providing laboratory testing services to help health care providers diagnose, treat, monitor and prevent disease in patients. In communities across British Columbia and Ontario, LifeLabs delivers cost-effective, convenient access to laboratory testing services essential for optimal outcomes in health care. LifeLabs employs approximately 5,500 professionally trained staff and delivers over 100 million laboratory tests, supporting over 19 million patient visits annually. In 2013, LifeLabs acquired BC Biomedical in British Columbia and CML HealthCare in Ontario making LifeLabs the largest community laboratory in Canada. LifeLabs is indirectly owned by OMERS Administration Corporation, whose interest is managed by Borealis Infrastructure.


Media Contact:

Stephanie Sayer

LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services

(416) 675-4530 x 2015



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