50 million dollars for stillbirth prevention: Start of project under leadership of University Hospital Tübingen
Stillbirth rates are high all over the world. Every 16 seconds, a baby is stillborn after the 28th week of pregnancy. Wellcome Leap’s In Utero program aims to reduce this number by half with the help of advanced imaging methods. The team at the University Women’s Hospital in Tübingen has been awarded substantial funds and will join other international and multidisciplinary performers.
Every year, more than two million babies worldwide are stillborn after the 28th week of pregnancy; in Germany alone, the number amounts to 4,000 children. For the parents of these children, the stillbirth of their child is a traumatic experience with often long-lasting personal and psychological consequences.
However, there is potential to reduce the number of stillbirths by half if pregnancy complications are detected early and a timely and safe delivery is initiated. To date, however, little progress has been made in reducing stillbirths.
That's where the new program from the nonprofit organization Wellcome Leap comes in: the $50 million "In Utero" program aims to create a scalable way to measure, model and predict gestational development to reduce stillbirths – without increasing delivery rates. Dr. Madhuri Salker of the University Women's Hospital in Tübingen, who is leading one of the projects in the program, will bring together experts from the fields of advanced imaging, next generation sequencing, multiomics, machine learning, engineering and medicine as part of the international project. The goal of Dr. Salker’s project is to develop novel readouts coupled to a real-time nanosensor to measure and monitor the health of pregnant women.
"The program fosters partnerships among physicians, scientists, engineers and expectant mothers as part of a comprehensive way to monitor and improve pregnancy care. It is based on the information at hand during a pregnancy," Dr. Salker said. "The results will help improve equal opportunities for high-risk pregnancies and for expectant mothers from socially and ethnically disadvantaged groups."
"Tübingen University Hospital proudly joins with collaborative partners in developing these life-saving interventions to reduce the global rate of stillbirth," Prof. Dr. Sara Brucker, director of Tübingen Women's Hospital, said. In addition to the University Hospital Tübingen (Women's Hospital, Prof. Dr. Oliver Kagan and Dr. Natalia Prodan, and the Institute of Medical Genetics and Applied Genomics, Dr. Yogesh Singh), the University RWTH Aachen (Dr. Vivek Pauchari), the NMI Reutlingen (Dr. Julia Marzi) and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Dr. Linda Abdul Aziz) are also involved in the project.
Saturday, 15th October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day 2022.
More information about Wellcome Leap’s "In Utero" Program: https://wellcomeleap.org/inutero/
Prof. Oliver Kagan & Dr. Natalia Prodan
University Women's Hospital Tübingen (Clinic)
Dr. Madhuri Salker
University Women's Hospital Tübingen (Research)