Premature labour – mechanisms controlling contractions | Children's Charity

Premature labour – mechanisms controlling contractions

This research was completed on 31 March 2006

Project LeaderProfessor S Thornton DM, MRCOG, Professor C W Taylor PhD and Dr N A Woodcock PhD.
LocationDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick in conjunction with the Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge.
Grant awarded7 November 2002
Start date1 December 2002
End date31 March 2006
Grant amount£82,880.00
Grant codeSP3873

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Premature delivery occurs in around 7-10% of all pregnancies and is the major cause of death and long term disability in newborns. There is no effective treatment for preterm labour and the development of drugs has been hampered by a lack of understanding of the mechanism of labour. Recently it has been shown that oxytocin, a hormone which is involved in starting labour, can alter the mechanism of contraction to produce more force. More importantly for the treatment of preterm labour, it has been shown that inhibiting the pathway by which oxytocin acts can almost completely stop contractions. This project focuses on the mechanisms by which oxytocin achieves this modulation of contraction which could provide additional targets for drugs to treat and thus prevent preterm labour.

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