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TO HEALTH, MEDICAL, AND NATIONAL EDITORS:
New Research Seeks To Prevent Preterm Birth With March Of Dimes
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five
researchers seeking to understand the causes of premature birth with
the goal of identifying women at risk of preterm labor and developing
new treatments to prevent it have been awarded grant support from the
March of Dimes.
The researchers, from the United States and Canada, are seeking to
understand what role genetic variations, infection, fetal lung
development and changes cervical ripening may play in triggering
preterm labor. They have been awarded 2014 March of Dimes Prematurity
Research Initiative (PRI) Grants to advance their work in the
prevention of premature birth.
More than 450,000 babies - one out of every nine - are born too soon
each year in the U.S. Preterm birth is a serious health problem that
costs the nation more than $26 billion annually, according to the
Institute of Medicine, and the leading cause of newborn death. Babies
who survive an early birth are at an increased risk for breathing
problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual and developmental disabilities,
vision and hearing loss, and other lifelong health problems. In 2012,
the U.S. preterm birth dropped to 11.5 percent rate, the lowest in 15
years, but still above the March of Dimes goal of 9.6 percent.
"Prevention is the way to save babies from the death and disability
caused by preterm birth," says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the
March of Dimes. "Research is the key that will provide new insights
into the many unknown causes of preterm labor, and help doctors
recognize the women and babies most at risk."
The March of Dimes PRI grants total nearly $27 million over its
10-year history. The PRI grants are one of several March of Dimes
grant programs available to researchers.
The 2014 PRI grantees include:
-- James Padbury, MD, of Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in
Providence, who is using bioinformatics and the findings of the Human
Genome project to identify genetic variations and gene interactions to
understand how they interact with a woman's environment to influence
her risk of preterm birth.
-- Mala Mahendroo, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center in Dallas, is working to understand cervical changes
and how they trigger labor. She hopes to identify key steps in normal
cervical ripening, as well as differences that may be caused by
infection and other factors that trigger preterm labor.
-- Carole R. Mendelson, PhD, of The University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center in Dallas, is identifying proteins produced by the
maturing fetal lungs that signal that the baby is ready to be born. A
previous study found that one major lung protein, surfactant
protein-A, acts as a hormonal signal that labor is beginning.
-- Stephen Lye, PhD, of the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, is
determining the effectiveness of probiotics as well as of a new class
of drugs (broad spectrum chemokine inhibitors) in preventing
inflammation and preterm birth associated with uterine infection. This
research will build upon Dr. Lye's previous study that infection
triggers inflammatory proteins that can help initiate uterine
-- Daniel Dufort, PhD, of McGill University in Montreal, is seeking to
determine whether genetic mutations in a gene (Nodal) increase a
woman's risk of preterm labor.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy
and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have
benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and
breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent
premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at
marchforbabies.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The
2014 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes
number one corporate supporter Kmart, Macy's, Famous Footwear, Cigna,
Sanofi Pasteur, Mission Pharmacal, United Airlines, and Actavis.
SOURCE March of Dimes
/CONTACT: Elizabeth Lynch, (914) 997-4286, email@example.com, Todd Dezen, (914) 997-4608, firstname.lastname@example.org
/Web Site: http://www.marchofdimes.com
CO: March of Dimes
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