A new protein to predict pregnancies at risk of stillbirth

The international journal, Nature Communications recently published an article from the O&G research team entitled ‘Circulating SPINT1 is a biomarker of pregnancies with poor placental function and fetal growth restriction’ which has gained media attention.

The Herald Sun and Channel 9 featured the research led by Principal Research Scientist, Associate Professor Tu’uhevaha Kaitu’u-Lino and Clinician Academics Dr Teresa MacDonald, Professor Sue Walker and Professor Stephen Tong on Saturday 16th May 2020.

This research identified SPINT1 as a protein significantly reduced in the blood of women carrying a small baby; an important find given small babies are at the greatest risk of being stillborn. The team hope that SPINT1 will be the first protein of a multi-marker test that could offer a red flag to clinicians, allowing intervention and a reduction in the number of stillbirths both within Australia and beyond.

The following contributed to the research:

  • A/Prof Tu’uhevaha Kaitu’u-Lino (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Dr Teresa MacDonald (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Ms Ping Cannon (University of Melbourne)
  • Ms Vi Nguyen (University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Richard Hiscock (Mercy Perinatal)
  • Mr Nick Haan (Foresight Health, Adelaide)
  • Dr Jenny Myers (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Dr Roxanne Hastie (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Ms Kirsten Dane (Mercy Perinatal)
  • Ms Anna Middleton (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Ms Intissar Bittar (Austin Health)
  • Dr Amanda Sferuzzi-Perri (University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Dr Natasha Pritchard (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Ms Alesia Harper (University of Melbourne)
  • A/Prof Natalie Hannan (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Ms Valerie Kyritsis (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Mr Nick Crinis (Austin Health)
  • A/Prof Lisa Hui (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Prof Sue Walker (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)
  • Prof Stephen Tong (University of Melbourne/Mercy Perinatal)

This work was funded by the NHMRC, the Norman Beischer Medical Research Foundation (NBMRF), the RANZCOG research foundation and Foresight Health.

You can read more about the study via the Mercy Health media release: https://www.mercyhealth.com.au/news/a-new-protein-to-predict-pregnancies-at-risk-of-stillbirth/?fbclid=IwAR3FURdeuKKhSd68wTv419_-dfJKi9ElgCTLdX_k4Le1Je35Sg1dmzfIDYs

Link to research paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-16346-x

Link to Herald Sun article (subscription required): https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/new-test-may-determine-if-women-are-at-risk-of-stillbirth/news-story/5e3cea6675233d0c7f4b948357a6d1ed

Link to Channel 9 Interview: https://www.facebook.com/9NewsMelbourne/videos/2701584840054744/