Cambridge researchers awarded grant to investigate the causes of stillbirth | Action Medical Research

Cambridge researchers awarded grant to investigate the causes of stillbirth

3 November 2011

A team of top researchers from Cambridge have been awarded a grant of more than £160,000 from children’s charity Action Medical Research, to investigate the causes of stillbirth.

The charity has been supporting significant medical breakthroughs for nearly 60 years, and has today announced the grant of £165,529 to the Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Addenbrookes Hospital, University of Cambridge.

On average ten babies are stillborn (die after the 24th week of pregnancy) and seven babies die neonatally (within the first four weeks of life) every day in the UK. Death of a baby late in pregnancy or as a newborn is sad and traumatic for couples.

Frequently the cause of death is not adequately identified and leaves great uncertainty for couples embarking on a subsequent pregnancy. These researchers will use contemporary molecular genetic techniques to study the genetic code of babies who have died in the womb, where parents have given consent for research.

They will look at the genetic code in detail and identify whether subtle abnormalities are a significant cause of disease. The study will address whether there are genetic causes underlying fetal death and establish whether more detailed genetic analysis would be valuable in assessment of all pregnancy losses at late gestation.

It also has the potential to identify new genes that are critical in development which will lead to a greater understanding of stillbirth and neonatal death.

None of the charity’s work would be possible without the generosity of people who make donations, raise funds and take part in events, as well as our trust and corporate partners.

Dr Alexandra Dedman, Senior Research Evaluation Manager, said: “At Action Medical Research we are determined to stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability. We know that medical research can save and change children’s lives. The charity finds and funds some of the best medical research in the world for the benefit of babies, children and young people.

“Our gold standard scientific review process ensures that we only fund the best doctors and researchers in children’s hospitals, specialist units and universities across the UK and we are delighted to announce this grant award.”

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

For further information please contact:

Claudine Powell, Communications Manager
T: 01403 327478
E: cpowell@action.org.uk
W: action.org.uk

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Action Medical Research is the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children. We know that medical research can save and change children’s lives. For nearly 60 years we have been instrumental in significant medical breakthroughs, including the development of the UK polio vaccine and ultrasound scanning in pregnancy.

Today, we continue to find and fund the very best medical research to help stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability. We want to make a difference in:

• tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
• helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
• targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children.  

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