Preeclampsia is a major complication of pregnancy that is responsible for the death of 60,000 mothers globally, and far greater numbers of babies, every year.
Preeclampsia causes molecules to be released from the diseased placenta into the mother’s bloodstream. These molecules circulate widely and damage the mother’s blood vessels, leading to major damage to vital organs: liver, kidneys, brain, lungs and blood clotting system. The only option is to deliver the baby early, which can put the baby at risk of death, disability and cerebral palsy.
The Translational Obstetrics Group at Mercy Hospital for Women and the University of Melbourne have found that common diabetes management drug, metformin, has the potential to decrease the release of toxins from the placenta and ultimately treat this fatal pregnancy condition. Metformin also appears to heal injured blood vessels.
Dr Fiona Brownfoot led the study, explaining that clinical trials should now be done to see whether metformin could be used to treat women with preeclampsia.
This research will be useful to inform ongoing studies, including whether Metformin could be given to women at high risk of developing preeclampsia to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Read more here: University of Melbourne.