Early diagnosis of common pregnancy disorders
Prof Shaun Brennecke, Dr Bill Kalionis, Dr Stefan Kane
There is an important need in modern obstetric care for non-invasive blood-based tests for the accurate assessment of the risks early in pregnancy that patients will develop common pregnancy disorders. The aim of this project is to develop these types of tests for the pregnancy disorders pre-term labour, pregnancy-induced hypertension/pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction and gestational diabetes. Although these diseases affect between 15 and 25% of deliveries in Australia and have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of mothers and their babies, diagnosis is made in the clinic only after they are well established. Available predictive tests provide relatively poor estimations of risks. The placenta plays a critical pathogenic role in the pregnancy disorders and altered placental and release of various factors into maternal blood are important features of the disease process in each case.
This project uses an "-omics" approach to identify candidate placental factors that may be suitable for development as predictive tests. Evaluation of the predictive/early diagnostic capacity of the factors is made by measuring their concentrations in maternal blood prior to clinical manifestation of disease.