A recent study from students at Stanford University has been said to be able to identify a pregnant woman’s exact due date. The new blood test was created to offer an alternative/cheaper option to measure due dates, than ultrasound scans, which can cost around £100 per screening.
The technique could play an important role in predicting premature births and opening up more doors for research and funding for the care of pregnant women. The blood tests and research carried out so far have shown a 75-80% accuracy in predicting due dates and complications.
In the UK alone, more than 15 million babies are born prematurely, often with little to no explanation. Doctors have never had access to a great deal of funding for the research, leaving many mothers with the answer of “these things just happen.”
The tests measure genetic activity in the maternal, placental, and foetal genes. It looks at the mother’s blood levels of cell-free RNA (the body’s messenger to ‘protein-making factories.’) The blood samples collected during a pregnancy, can determine which genes give accurate readings of gestational age and the risk of premature births.
“I’ve spent a lot of time over the years working to understand preterm delivery. This is the first real, significant scientific progress on this problem in a long time” said Professor Mads Melbye.
Prematurity is largest cause of infant mortality and the biggest cause of death of children under 5 in the world – the student’s research could massively impact this statistic, if more development is to be made on their testing method.
“This gives a super high-resolution view of pregnancy and human development that no one’s ever seen before.”
Phlebotomy Training Services provide a brilliant opportunity for students to learn the skill of extracting blood – opening a number of doors for future careers in research and development. For more information, or to book a course, call us today on 01609 751610.