Is Luna Genetics a Game Changer? Ron Wapner on Prenatal Genetics

Note: Laura has a new recording setup. Unfortunately, that higher sound quality was not captured here. Forgive us as we work through some technical issues.


2:30 Thirty-five years ago, I was offered testing for Down syndrome during my first pregnancy. What’s different today?

17:30 RW: We haven’t had the discussion about what we should be screening for. “The only reason we are screening for Down syndrome is because we can.”

23:22 NY Times article? Ron is not a fan.

30:00 Is Luna a game-changer? The answer is… it’s still early and we have questions to address, but… not today but soon we will be able to know the entire genome of the developing fetus.

45:40 What about the cost of this new test? (If you have to ask…). To begin with, this new test will not be covered. Still, as Ron points out, “For the first 5-7 years NIPT wasn’t covered… and what got it covered wasn’t doctors but patients telling their insurance company that they needed this information.”

59:50 Ron’s message for the coming age of reproductive medicine: “We need a limit to what we are willing to do.”

Ten years ago, prenatal testing was revolutionized by the introduction of non-invasive testing, which improved the positive predictive value of testing while reanimating concerns that have dogged reproductive genetics from the get-go: what should we test for and who should decide? Now, start-up Luna Genetics has announced its arrival, bringing to market the first non-invasive test that will look at intact cells from the fetus (well, the fetal placenta). Will Luna upend the prenatal testing market once again? NIPT took a hit with a critical front-page article in the NY Times last week. Does Luna represent another blow?

Joining us to answer these questions (and others) is Dr. Ron Wapner, Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Ron has been a pioneer in reproductive genetics, having witnessed and participated in the evolution of the field, and he is a member of the Luna Genetics Scientific Advisory Board.

Customize This