New premature birth research centre

By Julie Griffiths on 20 March 2018 Premature Birth Research

A new centre investigating the causes of premature birth is opening at Imperial College London.

The centre is called the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centre. March of Dimes is a US charity that supports research, leads programs and provides education around birth.

Imperial College London is the first European partner to join its network of Prematurity Research Centres.

Phillip Bennett, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Imperial, and the principal investigator of the new centre, said: ‘We are proud to have been selected to join the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centre family.

‘Imperial College London and its partner hospitals have renowned clinics for supporting women who deliver preterm, as well as a long tradition of ground-breaking research in this area. As London is a truly global city, we are also fortunate to encompass a large and diverse patient population.’

He continued: ‘Our teams of world-class scientists will be using the latest technologies, some unique to Imperial, to study how the body recognises and interacts with bacteria and other microbes in the birth canal. This will enable us to develop methods for predicting - and ultimately preventing - preterm birth.’

The centre at Imperial College London will work in partnership with three major London hospitals: Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, St Mary’s, and Chelsea and Westminster.

Premature birth is a complex condition with a range of causes and recent research has suggested the bacteria that live in the birth canal may play a role.

The research team at Imperial will aim to identify and characterise the complex processes between these bacteria and the mother, in order to help understand why some women are at higher risk of preterm birth.

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