ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0420.v1
Subject: Keywords: absolute uterine factor infertility; uterus transplant; experimental; clinical practice; ethics; living donors; risk assessment
Online: 26 June 2018 (12:58:08 CEST)
Background: Absolute uterine factor infertility (AUFI) is a kind of infertility that is completely attributable to uterine absence (surgical or congenital for women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome: MRKH) or anatomic or functional abnormality that prevents embryo implantation or completion of pregnancy to term. Until recently, the only viable option to parenthood for couples with AUFI were adoption or surrogacy. Since a first attempt of uterus transplant (UTx) in 2000, nine babies were born from women with a transplanted uterus from 2014, eight of which in Sweden, and one in the United States. These promising results are raising immense hopes for the women with AUFI and there is optimism about the possibility for UTx to become part of clinical care even though, besides encouraging results, the procedure has also resulted in increased risks and harms for both the donors and recipients and increased risks of premature birth for the fetus. At present UTx is still considered as experimental and requiring more research and safety assessment before becoming a therapeutic option for AUFI. The transition from experimental procedure to therapeutic care would result in less strict ethical scrutiny for UTx and in the possibility for patients to get reimbursement for the procedure by the relevant healthcare insurance or public healthcare providers. In turn, an increase in the number of UTx performed yearly by specialized surgical teams would result in a general improvement of the “field strength”. However, at present it is difficult to establish the amount of evidence that we need in order to consider UTx as no longer experimental but routine clinical practice. The literature on UTx provides recommendations on the different outcomes that should be monitored in this experimental phase but no study is anticipating the number of subjects that should be followed and for how long. Conclusion: As for other transplants that have become routine practice, like renal transplant and heart transplant, it is likely that the decision on “routine practice readiness” will result from available cumulated evidences, from expert capacity to find a consensus on best practices and on political considerations as well, including pressures form patients and patient groups.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0463.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: undiagnosed rare diseases; diagnostic odyssey; NGS; deep phenotyping; genomic matchmaking; secondary findings; patient involvement
Online: 31 May 2018 (09:35:32 CEST)
The time required to reach a correct diagnosis is one of the most important problems for rare disease (RD) patients. Diagnostic delay can be intolerably long, to the point that it is usually described as a “diagnostic odyssey” and, sometimes, a diagnosis might never occur. The International Rare Disease Research Consortium proposed, as ultimate goal for 2017-2027, to enable all people with a suspected RD to be diagnosed within one year if the disorder is known, and to enter a globally coordinated diagnostic and research pipeline for the unsolved cases. In-depth analysis of the genotype through next generation sequencing, together with a standardized in-depth phenotype description and sophisticated high-throughput approaches, have been applied as diagnostic tools to increase the chance of a timely and accurate diagnosis. This approach is very fruitful as, according to the Orphanet database, from 2010 to March 2017 more than 600 new RDs have been described and about 3600 genes linked to RDs have been identified. However, combination of -omics and phenotype data and international sharing of this information raise ethical concerns. Values to be assessed include not only patient autonomy but also family implications, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, solidarity and reciprocity, which must be respected and promoted and, at the same time, balanced among each other. In this work we suggest that, to maximise patients involvement in the search for a diagnosis and identification of new causative genes, undiagnosed patients should have the possibility to: 1) actively participate in the description of their phenotype; 2) choose the level of visibility of their profile in matchmaking databases; 3) express their preferences regarding return of new findings, in particular which level of Variant of Unknown Significance (VUS) significance should be considered relevant to them. The quality of the relation between individual patients and physicians, and between the patient community and the scientific community is critically important for making the best use of available data and combining efforts in the search for matches with similar cases worldwide that will help to solve unsolved cases. The contribution of patients to collecting and coding data comprehensively is critical for efficient use of data downstream of data collection.