8 February 2010
The US Secretary's Advisory Committee for Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC) has recommended that an additional condition be added to the panel of conditions for which all newborns receive screening (see press release). The ACHDNC adopted a list of 29 recommended conditions for which newborn screening should be compulsory in 2005 (see previous news), on the basis that effective tests were available and that early detection and treatment could provide clear medical benefits. Almost all newborns in the US now receive screening for these conditions (see previous news).
Now, in the first proposal since the original panel was adopted in 2005, the committee has unanimously agreed to recommend the addition of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) to the ‘core’ conditions on the newborn screening panel.
SCID is a term used to refer to a group related disorders characterised by the absence of T-lymphocytes, essential components of the immune system. With no effective immune responses, affected children can die at any point from infections that would be harmless in a healthy person. However, treatment such as bone marrow transplantation and gene therapy can cure the disease (see SCID.net), though these treatments are not without risks (see previous news); protection from infection can also prolong life.