While important advances have been made in reducing other causes of child mortality, an estimated 2.6 million stillbirths still occur every year.
In part, this is because even with the most advanced medical technology, we fail to detect some babies at greatest risk.
In December 2017, we asked for your help. And over 800 of you gave it.
Thanks to your generosity towards our research into preventable stillbirth, we have already begun to make great strides into refining a blood test that will assess placental health, and ultimately give us an early indication of babies at risk.
Our team of researchers have collected blood from 2000 women and are using the most sophisticated techniques to isolate both genetic and protein markers originating from the placenta. Measuring these markers will enable us to identify babies that are not growing well, or cases where the placenta is not functioning optimally.
Since December, we have been able to confirm our early findings, and are refining our ‘placental health’ blood test. It is our vision that this test will one day be available to all pregnant women.
If we succeed, then clinicians can use this test to identify babies at risk, monitoring them closely, and expediting delivery when needed, to ensure that they are delivered safely into the arms of their families.
So, I thank you for the support you have given. The scientific breakthroughs we achieve today will have lasting benefits for generations to come.
Professor Susan P. Walker AO
(MB BS 1989, GDipEpid&Biostat 1998, MD 2001)
Sheila Handbury Chair of Maternal Fetal Medicine
Mercy Hospital for Women
You can enable research to ensure the health of babies and mothers here.