Metabolomic Diagnostics Ltd., is collaborating with University College Cork, Ireland, (UCC) and the Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) on the development of groundbreaking predictive pregnancy diagnostics.
Our predictive diagnostic tests have the potential to transform maternal and fetal care globally, delivering on both of the key drivers in healthcare: improved quality of care and reduced costs.
Pre-eclampsia is a disease of late pregnancy characterised by the concomitant occurrence of hypertension (high blood pressure) and proteinuria (elevated protein in the urine) leading to restricted blood supply to the foetus. The condition begins in early pregnancy with defective development of the placenta but most often does not manifest itself until the second half of pregnancy. Once diagnosed, the only treatment option is the delivery of the baby prematurely. Latest research shows that the condition has been the most significant cause of maternal death over recent decades and is responsible for occupancy of approximately 20% of neonatal intensive care unit cots. Between 70,000 and 80,000 women die every year from pre-eclampsia and in excess of half a million new born infants die annually as a direct result of the condition.
Identification of first time mothers at risk for these conditions is the first step to effective intervention and prevention. Prenatal care currently consists of a series of consultations during pregnancy with a doctor or midwife. The main reason for these checks is to detect early signs of hypertension and proteinuria. The standard intervals between prenatal visits may result in delays in diagnosis with an increased chance of severe complications. If at risk first time mothers could be identified in early pregnancy, known and emerging therapies could potentially prevent or treat the condition. In the US alone the cost of prenatal care associated with pre-eclampsia is over $7Billion.
The World Health Organization recently concluded that there is currently no cost effective or reliable screening test for pre-eclampsia. As a consequence, clinicians are unable to offer either targeted surveillance or potential preventative therapies to those at risk.
Metabolomic Diagnostics will offer a revolutionary blood test to be administered at 15 weeks into a pregnancy, which can predict with a high degree of accuracy and negligible false negatives, the risk that a woman will develop preeclampsia later in their pregnancy.
A combination of metabolites in the blood is measured and the results, along with certain clinical data are fed into a classification algorithm, which extrapolates the results. This information will allow clinicians to tailor specific medical care to patients who are at higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
Current work aims to validate and commercially develop the diagnostic platform and should be ready to commence a hospital later this year.