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Pre eclampsia Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Pre-eclampsia affects 5% of pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered. It is associated with significant problems in the mother and the baby. Our research examines the molecular mechanisms of pre-eclampsia and explores if we can predict and prevent this disease.

WHAT WE DO

Molecular mechanisms of Pre-eclampsia:

Our basic science work focuses on how extracellular vesicles released from the placenta into the maternal circulation cause this syndrome. The vesicles represent a novel form of feto-maternal cell signaling and the characterization of these nano‐sized vesicles required new technologies to be adopted, in particular the pioneering use of Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, in partnership with Nanosight Ltd. To progress the science, the Department initiated the Oxford Extracellular Vesicle Interest Group. We are also examining the biology of placental pericytes in collaboration with Professor Alistair Buchan, Dr Yvonne Couch (Nuffield Department of Medicine) and Dr. Brad Sutherland (University of Tasmania).

 

Prediction and prevention of Pre-eclampsia:

Our clinical research has a particular emphasis on placental biomarkers and their ability to predict pre-eclampsia and its adverse outcomes. Two markers, Placental Like Growth Factor (PlGF) and soluble FMS-like Tyrosine Kinase 1 (sFlt-1) have been characterized in pre-eclampsia using platforms from Alere and Roche Diagnostics. Further studies using these markers in clinical practice are underway. We are also looking into other candidate molecules derived from mass spectrometry and deep sequencing of placentas and extracellular vesicles.

 

Global Pregnancy Collaboration (CoLab) 

We are members of the Global Pregnancy Collaboration (Professor Redman being aFounding Member). The goals of CoLab are three-fold. The overarching goal is to improve the health of women and their infants by facilitating research addressing adverse pregnancy outcomes. This would be accomplished by 1) facilitating access to data and biological samples for investigators worldwide, 2) by using the intellectual, data, and biological resources of the CoLab to perform large studies that could not be accomplished by any single centre, and 3) working to establish data and biological sample resources in developing countries.

 

Our team

Selected publications

Related research themes