January 10, 2018

A new study could uncover the root causes of preterm births

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rnicu 2017This new research could provide answers to questions about the causes of preterm birth.Akila Subramaniam, M.D., assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, was awarded a $75,000 grant from AMAG Pharmaceutical to begin research on cervical length shortening, which is a powerful predictor of spontaneous preterm birth.

While many researchers in the field attribute cervical length shortening to microbial stimuli leading to localized inflammation, Subramaniam’s research will focus on culture-independent techniques that could isolate other causes of cervical length shortening. By conducting research that differs from the typical culture-based techniques, she hopes to find a new determining factor in cervical length shortening and use that discovery to better predict preterm births.

William Andrews, Ph.D., M.D., professor and chair of the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said Subramaniam’s research “holds promise of monumental significance in the understanding of preterm birth, which results in the majority of perinatal mortality and at least half of long-term neurodevelopmental abnormalities.”

Subramaniam will be joined by eight experts in the field of obstetrics and gynecology to conduct the research funded by the grant. The researchers involved in the study cover a wide spectrum of study across multiple continents, including Europe and Asia.