The artificial placenta can improve survival rates of premature babies

Nov 14, 2016 | | Say something

through an artificial placenta that mimics the uterus, researchers at the University of Michigan are working to improve survival rates more premature, smaller babies in an innovative way.

 Artificial Placenta may Improve Survival Rates in Premature Infants Artificial Placenta can improve survival rates of premature infants

The technology has not reached a clinical trial, but researchers at Children’s Hospital of C. S. Mott U-M and the Research Laboratory Extracorporeal Circulation are making spectacular progress. An extracorporeal artificial placenta in the institution held five extremely premature lambs alive for a week. The lambs were transferred to the artificial placenta using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) without taking his first breath.

“An extracorporeal artificial placenta can help survive extremely premature babies at higher risk of disability or death. “


The ultimate goal of almost a decade of sustained work: for an artificial placenta to help extremely premature babies at higher risk of disability or death continue the development of critical organs outside the womb.

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A complete paradigm shift

Despite significant advances in the treatment of premature birth, the risk of death and long term disability remains high for extremely premature babies born before 24 weeks – these small bodies of babies are not prepared for life outside the uterus.

“One of the most serious risks for extremely premature infants are underdeveloped lungs that are too fragile to handle even techniques softer ventilation,” says George Mychaliska, MD, principal investigator and director of Fetal Diagnosis UM and the Center Treatment. “If the baby’s lungs are very immature, they can not provide the brain, heart and other organs of the oxygen they need to survive.”

Mychaliska, which has been referred to as “fixer fetus” Michigan for his work recognized fetal intervention, he has been at the forefront of research to improve outcomes for premature babies.

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“We think why we can not solve the problem of prematurity, recreating the intrauterine environment?” he says. “Maybe we should try this little baby as a fetus. Maybe we should treat these babies as if they are still in the womb. This is a paradigm shift complete. Our research is still at a very preliminary stage, but we have gone an important milestone that gives us the promise to revolutionize the treatment of prematurity.

“Although many of our current treatments are saving lives, they are not designed for premature babies and are often ineffective or contribute to complications,” he adds.

How it works

The innovative artificial placenta simulates the intrauterine environment and provides gas exchange without mechanical ventilation. Recapitulating the normal physiology of the fetus to recreate the intrauterine environment, artificial placenta holds the promise of normal growth and development outside the womb for extremely premature babies until they are ready for postnatal life. The success of keeping alive lambs through this technique is an important milestone in obtaining a grant NIH R01 $ 2.7 million to help accelerate this research.

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The way forward

Over the next five years, the researchers hope to show that an artificial placenta can be used to simulate the intrauterine environment and support a lamb fetus extreme prematurity normal physiology of the newborn. The next step would be to determine if the milestones justify preliminary clinical trials in extremely premature infants.

Source: Newswise

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