Making significant advances in human medicine

  • Making significant advances in human medicine

    Professor Nigel Groome

    Pioneering research developed by Professor Nigel Groome at Oxford Brookes has contributed to a significant improvement in the accuracy of pre-natal screening for Down’s Syndrome.

    His work has also been used in clinical diagnostic and monitoring applications for male and female infertility, abnormalities in sexual development in children and ovarian granulosa tumours.

    During his highly successful research career at Oxford Brookes, one of Professor Groome’s greatest research achievements resulted from work which led to the development of antibodies to the reproductive hormone inhibin.

    This research led to the development of the first clinical immunoassays, or tests, for inhibin A, inhibin B, inhibin pro-alpha c and activin A.

    Because of Professor Groome’s leading role on this research, he is widely recognised as being responsible for major developments in the understanding of aspects of human reproduction relevant to inhibin A and B.

    Professor Groome is the most published and cited author in the inhibin field

    Irrespective of the database searched, Professor Groome will be found to be the most published and most cited author in the inhibin field.

    Inhibin use in the USA

    The greatest use of the inhibin A procedure for Down’s Syndrome screening has been in the US. The 2012 College of American Pathologists report shows that most respondent clinics use the second trimester quad test with a significant number using the full integrated test. The total usage of the quad or integrated test in 2011 in the US was over 3 million women screened.

    It can easily be deduced that the inclusion of inhibin A in the screening for Down’s Syndrome has contributed to a significant cost-saving for healthcare in the US. We can estimate that lifetime care costs of a Down’s Syndrome child would be around $900,000 per child. The 5% gain in detection as result of adding inhibin-A therefore translates into a potential saving of over $250 million per year.

    Given the current trend for women to choose to have children later, where there is a high correlation between increasing maternal age and increased instances of Down’s Syndrome, this will only become a greater saving.

    Greater accuracy of screening

    There are also health implications because the amniocentesis procedure carries a 0.5-0.8% chance of provoking a miscarriage; the greater accuracy of the screening means that fewer women have to take that risk.

    In the UK, the quad test became the recommended standard of care for second trimester screening in 2010 and is now offered by all but 3 of over 160 NHS trusts. In the period April 2011 to September 2011, Quad and integrated testing increased and accounted for 72.8% of all second trimester tests compared with a previous cycle rate of 49.7%.

    Read more about the full Impact Case Study on RADAR. Further information on Professor Nigel Groome can be found on his profile page.