Preeclampsia, where high blood pressure puts both the mother and baby at risk, affects between 4% and 7% of first pregnancies and leads to 50,000 deaths each year, as well as premature births and stillbirths. The Belgian company Pronota has developed a test that can pick out the women who are at risk of developing preeclampsia, allowing them to have the treatment they need, and this has been validated by the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) consortium.
The test uses a panel of 5 protein biomarkers, along with measurement of blood pressure, identified using its proprietary proteomics platform. Researchers verified the predictive capabilities of the marker panel in 300 pregnant women recruited by the SCOPE consortium in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The test was able to correctly identify 80% of the women who developed preeclampsia and then had a premature baby.
Philip Baker, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Alberta, commented: "A test that correctly identifies women at risk of preeclampsia could allow physicians to adapt prenatal care and lead to improved outcomes for both mothers and infants."
If detected early, preeclampsia can be treated with blood pressure lowering medications and magnesium sulfate. If the symptoms are advancing, steroid injections help the baby's lungs develop more quickly, if it needs to be born early through a cesarean section.
- read the press release