Infection Profiling for Prediction of Preterm Birth
Preterm birth prevention
THE BROAD AIMS OF THIS STUDY ARE TO DEVELOP AN IN-DEPTH MICROORGANISM PROFILE OF ‘NORMAL’ AMNIOTIC FLUID SAMPLES IN MID PREGNANCY AND THEN CORRELATE THE PRESENCE AND ABUNDANCE OF KEY MICROORGANISMS WITH POOR PREGNANCY OUTCOMES SUCH AS PRETERM BIRTH, INTRAUTERINE GROWTH RESTRICTION AND NEONATAL SEPSIS.
From this information we aim to develop early pregnancy tests which would be able to identify women at risk of pregnancy complications in order to target preventative treatment such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs or hormones. The project has started well. Collection of amniotic fluid samples has been underway for several months, with over 120 samples already collected from our WA sites. We also have collection underway in China, where over 400 samples have been collected, and additional centers in South Africa and The Netherlands which may come on board, making the study a truly multi-national collaboration. First round analysis will take place when half the samples have been collected.
Two important new items of equipment have been required. The first of these has been purchased – a Luminex MAGPIX analyser. This instrument is a state of the art multiplex xMAP analyser able to measure the concentrations of up to 50 different cytokines, growth factors and hormones simultaneously in a very small volume of fluid. It will be used to profile the extent of inflammatory activation in amniotic fluid samples, which will be critical in identifying biomarkers for the prediction of risk of pregnancy complications.
The purchasing of the second item of equipment has been put on hold pending the arrival of a molecular microbiologist who has recently been appointed to the research team. He will commence in November and will oversee the purchase, installation and application of the remaining equipment.
WIRF/School of Women's and Infants' Health, The University of Western Australia
Winthrop Professor John Newnham
Professor Jeffrey Keelan
Professor Jan Dickinson
Dr Matt Kemp
National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
Women and Infants Research Foundation
Channel 7 Telethon Trust