Research breakthrough for preeclamptic

An international coalition of researchers, including many from University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science, have discovered that a common drug used to treat heartburn and gastric reflux could save some of the 60,000 lives lost each year to preeclampsia. 

Researchers are exploring whether prescription drug Nexium, which is safely used by millions of people across the world, could successfully treat preeclampsia in early pregnancy.

The condition occurs when the preeclamptic placenta releases toxins that spread throughout the mother’s circulation. These toxins damage blood vessels and injure major organs including the liver, kidneys, brain, lungs and the blood clotting system.

There is currently no treatment other than delivering the baby prematurely in order to save the woman’s life, which in turn increases the risk of death, disability and cerebral palsy in the baby.

The project is lead by the Translational Obstetrics Group, which is based at Mercy Hospital for Women and includes School of BioSciences researchers Professor Laura Parry and Dr Sevvandi Senadheera.

Already, a major trial has been established in South Africa, where problems related to preeclamptic are high, with results expected to be available later this year. An Australian-based trial is also being planned.

The findings of the study were recently published in international journal Hypertension.

Read more here.