Press release

Baby Detect screens 120 serious and treatable diseases at birth: a world first at the Citadelle and the CHU of Liège!

In Research Press releases

A major advance in the screening and treatment of severe childhood diseases: Pr Laurent Servais (CHU-Citadelle) with the team of the Reference Center for Neuromuscular Diseases (CRMN) and the team of the Genetics Department (Dr François Boemer / Pr Vincent Bours), in collaboration with the ULiège, has developed a program that now allows early detection of some 120 serious and treatable diseases, by simply taking a few drops of blood. The test costs nothing to the parents. Only one center in the United States has initiated a similar program in 2022.

Until now, the neonatal screening planned in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation allows the detection of 19 serious and treatable diseases of the child. "But with this program, we are going much further because with a few extra drops of blood, we are able to detect 120, and the list should get even longer," says Professor Laurent Servais (CHU-Citadelle), who initiated the project. "The earlier a disease is detected, and ideally even before symptoms appear, the more effectively it can be treated. It is therefore a real advance, both for children and their families and for medicine in general, since all the results help us to accelerate clinical research into rare diseases".

The Baby Detect program started a few months ago: 900 tests have been carried out on a voluntary basis to date. "A very large majority of parents who were offered the test (over 90%) accepted," says Tamara Dangouloff, clinical trial project manager at the University of Liege. "There are no costs for the parents, and obviously no risks. Those who hesitate often argue that there has never been a problem in the family, which unfortunately means nothing".

In practice, access to the Baby Detect test is quite simple: parents must read and approve the consent document (which also implies the use of the data collected in favor of research), after which the collection of 4 drops of blood is carried out at the same time as the already scheduled blood test, two days after the child's birth. According to the principle of "no news, good news", the parents will only be contacted if the test reveals any concerns.

In order to further research, the CRMN is appealing for donations via the Léon Fredericq Foundation, and a renowned sponsor, Axel Witsel, who has agreed to support the cause by participating in the video. For the Red Devil, to defeat the disease, as to win a match, "we must put all the chances on our side by knowing our opponent!"


More info about the project

Baby Detect


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BE48 0018 3821 0927
Communication: Baby Detect
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Fondation Léon Fredericq


Tamara Dangouloff

Photo © Shutterstock | Olesia Bilkei

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