Committee Votes for National Use of UCSF Infant Screening Test

January 26, 2010
News Office: Kate Vidinsky (415) 502-6397

A federal pediatric advisory committee has voted unanimously to include a screening test for Severe Combined Immune Deficiency, or SCID, in the core panel of newborn screening performed nationwide. The Federal Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children formally recommended the screen Jan. 21, 2010.

The screen was pioneered by Dr. Jennifer Puck, director of the Pediatric Clinical Research Center at UCSF Children's Hospital, and can detect SCID in the dried blood spot filter cards that are currently collected from all newborns to screen for a variety of disorders. SCID is a genetic disorder in which the immune system fails to develop. Babies with SCID appear healthy at birth, but without early treatment — most often by bone marrow transplant from a healthy donor — these infants cannot survive.

The Advisory Committee's policy recommendation will now be presented to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius has 180 days to consider and respond to the committee's proposal.