Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Doctors Gain Insight Into Cause of Miscarriage

Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center have released a new study linking a cancer-related gene to the development of the placenta – the organ that regulates nutrient and oxygen exchange between a mother and her fetus during pregnancy, and perhaps in miscarriages.

"Our findings strongly suggest that the [cancer-related] gene is important in the development of the placenta, but they have other important implications, as well," says principal investigator Gustavo Leone, assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a researcher with Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center and human cancer genetics program.

"People born with one mutated [cancer-related] gene have a higher risk of developing retinoblastoma. But are they also predisposed to miscarriage? Do [cancer-related] defects in the placenta cause learning or physical abnormalities? We are investigating these questions now."

Leone added, "Miscarriages have never been linked to a gene defect, but understanding the genetic basis of miscarriage would be a hugely important. It would be the first link between a gene mutation, placental function and development."


No comments: