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Researchers pinpoint possible new cause for unexplained miscarriages
Date:11/1/2011

other researchers in Dr. Ni's laboratory found that sometimes these antibodies not only destroy platelets, but activate them and cause massive clotting in the placentas.

Dr. Ni, an immunologist, is also a scientist with Canadian Blood Services (CBS), one of the funders of this research. His findings appear in the November issue of the prestigious Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Ni's group demonstrated that, in mice, these miscarriages can be prevented using at least two therapies. One is the transfusion of IgG (IVIG), a CBS product made from plasma from donated blood, which has been widely used to treat several autoimmune diseases. The other is the transfusion of an antibody known as anti-FcRn, which blocks the attacking maternal antibodies from crossing the placenta. This second method was developed by Dr. Ni's group.

"Fifty per cent of pregnancies do not end in a live birth. Our findings may help explain why some women are having miscarriages," said Dr. Ni. "Furthermore, our treatments could be the answer to carrying a healthy child to term."

The observations by Dr. Ni's team of platelet activation and enhancement of clotting may be important in the development of safer anti-thrombotic drugs. These drugs are under development by several companies.

Dr. Ni's group is now collaborating with clinicians to address how relevant these discoveries in mice are in humans.


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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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