Toward Preventing Spontaneous Preterm Birth

Preterm infants, born at less than 37 weeks gestation, account for more than 70% of neonatal deaths in the United States. Survivors are at an increased risk for serious complications, including cerebral palsy, respiratory illness, blindness and deafness. The magnitude of this clinical problem demonstrates a desparate need for effective treatments for spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB).

A study led by Tracy Manuck, M.D., points to variations in a gene called NOS1 that prevent women from responding to the sole therapeutic treatment for SPTB, 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P). By identifying novel gene targets, this study helps elucidate who is likely to respond to 17P, and who is not. The work is a first step toward developing a personalized approach toward preterm birth interventions, which will significantly lower the overall rate of both primary and recurrent SPTB, and corresponding health complications and deaths in premature infants.

The research was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Preterm Birth Accounts For 70% of Neonatal Deaths