Key resource will help address complications in pregnancy
17 March 2009
A new resource at the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) will help doctors and scientists address the four key complications in pregnancy.
Jointly led by Professor Gudrun Moore (UCL ICH) and Professor Lesley Regan (St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London), the resource - known as the Baby Bio Bank - will be the first study of its kind and the most extensive, as it will analyse maternal and paternal inheritance patterns.
The four key complications during pregnancy are recurrent miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction (abnormally small babies), pre-eclampsia (high-blood pressure in pregnancy) and preterm delivery. 250,000 UK pregnancies end in miscarriage per annum, while over 50% of stillbirths remain unexplained.
The resource will help doctors identify the inherited and biological nature of these complications. The resource will also store protein from the placenta for expression and translational studies (the process by which inheritable information from a gene is made into a functional gene product).
The research at the bank will involve collecting blood samples from the parents and placenta from the babies affected by any of these complications. The samples taken will be examined to investigate the possible underlying causes of these conditions and how much inheritance plays a part. Parents in London can help address these serious conditions by anonymously donating blood and placenta samples.
The bank will be based at UCL ICH and St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London. It will create a pan-London project and an international resource, bringing together eminent professionals in the fields of obstetrics and gynaecology. Once complete, the research database will be available to researchers from all over the world to share.
Professor Moore said: "It is a huge and exciting collaboration between UCL and Imperial College London, and between medicine and science. It will enable breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of these four serious pregnancy complications."
The UCL Institute of Child Health is, in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital, the largest centre outside the US devoted to clinical and basic research and postgraduate teaching in children's health. It pursues an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to enhance the understanding, diagnosis, therapy and prevention of childhood disease. It covers a broad range of paediatric issues, from molecular genetics to population health sciences.