Major prematurity research collaborative launched in Ohio

June 1, 2013
Contemporary OB/GYN Staff
Contemporary OB/GYN Staff

Three major Ohio universities and 4 hospitals have joined with the March of Dimes Foundation to establish a new collaborative research program aimed exclusively at finding the unknown causes of premature birth.

 

Three major Ohio universities and 4 hospitals have joined with the March of Dimes Foundation to establish a new collaborative research program aimed exclusively at finding the unknown causes of premature birth. The March of Dimes intends to invest $10 million in the program over 5 years.

Contemporary OB/GYN Editor-in-Chief Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM, is the Dean of the College of Medicine and Vice President for Health Sciences at Ohio State University, one of the institutions in the collaborative. Editorial Board member Joe Leigh Simpson, MD, is senior vice president of research and global programs for the March of Dimes.

“In some ways, for prematurity researchers, Ohio is kind of the promised land and this is the golden age,” Dr. Lockwood told The Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch. Research into Ohio’s Somali population, for example, could prove enlightening, since Somali women have lower rates of prematurity than African-American women, who have extremely high rates, he said.

According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 9 children born in the United States arrives before 37 weeks’ gestation. In Ohio, 1 in 8-or more than 15,000 babies-is born early each year.

Partners in the research collaborative include:

• University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center;

• The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus; and

• Case Western Reserve University; University Hospitals’ MacDonald Women’s Hospital and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital; and MetroHealth System, all of Cleveland.

The 5 focuses of research over the next 5 years are: the evolution of human pregnancy, the genetics of unique human populations, the molecular developmental biology of pregnancy, progesterone signaling in pregnancy maintenance and preterm birth, and the sociobiology of racial disparities in preterm birth.