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The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Discovers the Role of Progesterone and Pre-Term Labor
Date:8/27/2009

Progesterone has been used successfully to push back labor and scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have new evidence that the hormone may indeed modulate the fetal inflammatory response that is implicated in pre-term labor.

Manhasset, NY (Vocus) August 27, 2009 -- Each year, about 12 percent of pregnant women in the United States give birth before they complete their 37th week of gestation. Prematurity can result in health risks for both the newborn and the mother. Scientists have been trying to figure out what causes pre-term labor and identify ways to prevent it. Progesterone has been used successfully to push back labor and scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have new evidence that the hormone may indeed modulate the fetal inflammatory response that is implicated in pre-term labor.

Working with Christine Metz, PhD, Head of the Laboratory of Medicinal Biochemistry, Nadav Schwartz, MD, decided to test whether progesterone directly suppressed pre-term labor and if so, how. It has long been known that infections can trigger pre-term labor, and it is the hypothesis that wayward inflammatory responses to bacterial infections provoke an early delivery. Maybe, they thought, progesterone suppresses the fetal inflammatory response.

While it is impossible to separate the fetal compartment from the maternal environment, the Feinstein researchers turned to fresh cord blood donated by mothers following the birth of their babies at North Shore Hospital. The hospital participates in the National Cord Blood Program but cord blood specimens that are too small are immediately
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