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Circulating miRNAs in maternal blood as biomarkers for preterm birth

48 months
Approved budget:
Professor Mark Vickers
Health issue:
Obstetric complications/perinatal care
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Pregnancy complications, including preterm birth (8% of births in New Zealand), have significant health impacts on the mother and baby, in addition to significant healthcare costs. Biomarkers for accurate early prediction for such complications, before the clinical event, do not currently exist. Given the widespread involvement of miRNAs in the development of and protection from many diseases, there is increasing interest surrounding their potential as early biomarkers for pregnancy-related disorders. Our own published pilot data has shown utility for miRNAs as sensitive biomarkers for early detection of later preterm birth. This project aims to expand our preliminary findings towards development and independent validation of effective non-invasive biomarkers for preterm birth using a platform that can then be translated across other pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes. Early identification of mothers at later risk of such complications affords an opportunity for timely intervention strategies with benefits conferred to both mother and child.