Health · infertility · Miscarriage · Pregnancy Loss

Blog series post #2: Breakthroughs in miscarriage research

Following on from last week’s post on pregnancy loss support, many research projects are helping to make leaps forward in understanding the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of pregnancy loss, and finding new treatments for prevention.

The cell-free fetal DNA study is investigating whether analysis of cell-free fetal DNA could help ascertain genetic reasons for early miscarriages. Women with a diagnosis of recurrent miscarriage, threatened miscarriage, missed miscarriage or incomplete miscarriage are eligible to participate in the study. You can email BWH-tr.tommysclinic@nhs.net to register your interest in taking part in this research at Birmingham Women’s Hospital or telephone 0121 623 6837.

The sperm DNA fragmentation study is looking at what sort of sperm DNA damage can more than double the risk of miscarriage. While most cells can repair damaged DNA, sperm can’t. The egg can – but the worse the damage to the sperm, the more likely it is that when the egg tries to repair it, it does more harm than good. This can lead to genetic problems in the baby, which could increase the risk of miscarriage. This study is currently recruiting men to take part in Birmingham and you can telephone 0121 623 6837 or email BWH-tr.tommysclinic@nhs.net about this research.

The immune phenotyping study is looking at whether adaptations of the maternal immune system could be implicated in recurrent miscarriage by testing women’s immune systems and examining different substances in the blood and womb that suggest how well the immune system is working. Email BWH-tr.tommysclinic@nhs.net or call 0121 623 6837 to speak to the team about your interest in this research in Birmingham.

The Alife2 trial is investigating whether anti-coagulant (blood thinning) treatment could reduce the risk of miscarriage in women aged 18 to 42 years, with two or more previous miscarriages and with inherited thrombophilia (when your blood has a tendency to clot more than normal). Ring the team at University Hospital in Coventry on 0247 6964 983 to find out more or email BWH-tr.tommysclinic@nhs.net to register your interest in taking part in this research at a number of hospitals across the country.

The EPOS study is looking at the impact of early pregnancy events such as pain and bleeding on the future risk of miscarriage and risk of long-term pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and preterm labour. Women who are less than 14 weeks pregnant, aged between 16 and 50 years, with or without the pregnancy events described, are eligible to participate in the study. Participants are seen up to six times during their pregnancy, where ultrasound scans are performed and samples collected to screen for differences between women who do and do not have adverse pregnancy outcomes. For more information about the study at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital in London, email ICHC-tr.epos@nhs.net or call 020 3313 5281 or 07934 920180.

A £1.8 million National Institute of Health Research grant has enabled the MifeMiso trial to take place, looking at the best way to medically treat miscarriage. Investigations are examining whether a single drug treatment or a combination of drug treatments is best. To be eligible for the study, women must be diagnosed with a missed miscarriage by pelvic ultrasound scan in the first 13+6 weeks of pregnancy, be opting for medical management, be 16 years of age or over, and be willing and able to give informed consent. This trial is being conducted at several hospitals across the UK as well as in Birmingham. You can email mifemiso@trials.bham.ac.uk to register your interest.

The SiM trial, which I took part in, investigated whether scratching the lining of the womb can prevent miscarriage among women aged 18 to 42 years and with two or more previous miscarriages. This trial has now finished recruiting and I will post more information on the outcomes when it is released.

It is hoped that the building of the Tommy’s Net platform will help collect and store information from many different hospitals to enable more effective research in the future. It will also allow the creation of mathematical models that will help tell which women are at risk of miscarriage.

Next week, I will look at some of the innovations taking place in IVF research. Thanks for reading!

Image from Pixabay

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