07:25am Tuesday 26 September 2017

Biomarker Discovery May Lead to Effective Blood Test for Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancies occur when a woman’s fertilized egg develops outside of the uterus, most often in the Fallopian tubes.  As the embryo grows, the tube could rupture, which results in the loss of the embryo and threatens the life of the mother.  Ectopic pregnancies occur in about one in 40 to 100 pregnancies. They are the leading cause of death in the first trimester of pregnancy. Currently, diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy relies on the use of ultrasound and there is no single proven blood test.

According to David W. Speicher, PhD, professor and co-leader of Wistar’s Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program and director of the Center for Systems and Computational Biology, in the current study they describe a group of proteins that, “with further refinement, could make a simple blood test for ectopic pregnancy.” Speicher and his team collaborated with Kurt T. Barnhart, MD, MSCE, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, associate director of Penn Fertility Care and director of Clinical Research for the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology .

This current study demonstrates the power of proteomics, or the study of the sum total of proteins that the body is making at a given time, in understanding the state of health or disease in people. Proteomics provides researchers an “unbiased” approach to the discovery of biomarkers, proteins in this case, which could be used to signal the presence of a particular clinical disorder or disease such as ectopic pregnancy.

For more information, please see the Wistar news release: http://www.wistar.org/news_info/pressreleases/pr_02.17.11.htm .

 

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Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4 billion enterprise. 

Penn’s School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report‘s survey of research-oriented medical schools and among the top 10 schools for primary care. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $507.6 million awarded in the 2010 fiscal year. 

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Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2010, Penn Medicine provided $788 million to benefit our community.


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