Ground-breaking new blood test set to predict late pre-eclampsia with 90% accuracy
Pre-eclampsia currently affects up to 6% of pregnancies in the UK but this new study is a ray of hope to significantly reduce that statistic through a simple blood test.
Scientists at the Laboratory for Reproductive Medicine and Immunology in San Francisco studied 160 births and found that molecules in the blood can detect the condition several months before pregnant women present with symptoms.
These molecules are called microRNA and are found in the blood cells in the placental bed that lines the uterus during gestation. Studying these molecules could also help doctors avoid premature births, miscarriages and other complications.
Tim Child, the medical director of Oxford Fertility told BBC News: “Pre-eclampsia, premature birth and miscarriage are significant issues all around the world, so any research is important…. While the number [of case studies] is very limited, the statistical relationship between the test and the complication is very high.”
Child said the study is “very exciting” as it can be used to develop new treatments and screenings in the future. This small sample trial will serve as the initial basis for larger trials and further screenings before the test can be fully developed and become standard practice.
Child added that this breakthrough, along with ongoing research and follow-up studies, could lead to a better understanding of the “root cause” of this dangerous and life-threatening, placental condition.
Early detection and medical intervention significantly reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia and while experts warn that the findings from this study are currently “small and preliminary,” it is being hailed as a promising breakthrough for high risk pregnancies.