Great Britain authorises PGD in case of cancer predisposition


Extended Preimplantation Diagnosis

 

For the first time, the resort to preimplantation diagnosis (PGD) has just been authorised by Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to select an embryo free from genes predisposing to breast and ovarian cancer. This embryo is selected in vitro among a certain number. The selected one will be implanted whereas the other will be eliminated. Dr Paul Serhal’s team (University College Hospital of London) is pleased about this world first: “PGD will be able, from now, to be implemented on the basis of a risk estimated to less than 100%. In case of family history, the risk of breast cancer onset is estimated between 60% and 80% and to 40% for ovarian cancer”.

 

From the disease to the predisposition

 

In France, the law authorises to resort to PGD when a couple has a “strong probability to give birth to a child with a specifically severe genetic disease recognised to be incurable at the time of the diagnosis” (CSP art. L2131-4), in order to choose to implant only embryos free from disease. Already some teams, as Pr Viville’s team, Head of Department of Laboratory of reproductive biology and head of the centre for preimplantation diagnosis (University College Hospital of Strasbourg), thinks that it can extend the use of PGD in case of simple predisposition, after a thorough review of the family records. A thought is in progress, conducted under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute. Then the embryos will be destroyed without knowing if one day they will have the genetic affection.