Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 3:58 am | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Cottage-UCSB Research Could Lead to Revolutionary Diagnostic Test for Pre-eclampsia

Collaborators at Cottage Health System and UC Santa Barbara have identified biomarkers that may yield a revolutionary diagnostic test for pre-eclampsia, a complex and potentially life-threatening hypertensive condition affecting 5 percent of pregnancies worldwide.

The most common dangerous complication of pregnancy, pre-eclampsia is potentially fatal and often mimics or is confused with other pregnancy-related conditions — such as swelling, gastric pain and high blood pressure. Pre-eclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which carries a maternal mortality rate of 1.8 percent worldwide.

Through a partnership funded by the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Research Grant Program, the study was led by Dr. Alex Soffici, perinatologist with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and Dr. Patrick Daugherty, professor of chemical engineering at UCSB.

Plasma samples were collected over a period of two years from both normal-outcome and pre-eclampsia pregnancy patients at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and then analyzed by UCSB graduate researcher Serra Elliott to identify candidate biomarkers.

“We are seeing the early stages of something that could be quite big,” Soffici said. “Therapeutics for pre-eclampsia are on the horizon.”

The group discovered that certain antibodies are present in the blood of patients with pre-eclampsia, but not in women with healthy pregnancies. Their results suggest that this new diagnostic test could effectively distinguish pre-eclampsia syndrome from conditions with similar symptoms. The collaborators’ research continues in an ongoing study that could lead to technology available to clinical settings.

“We developed a separation process to sift through enormous numbers of distinct molecules present in blood to identify those few that are uniquely present in patients with pre-eclampsia,” Daugherty said. “Since our process simultaneously identifies biochemical reagents that can capture the disease biomarkers, there is an opportunity to create an effective diagnostic test for this prevalent disorder and possibly for other diseases where definitive tests are not yet available.”

Elliott, lead scientist on the project, recently presented their findings at a conference for the International Society of the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy in Geneva, Switzerland.

“There are very few groups in the world working on this technology, and we have found it to be exactly what the international research community was looking for,” Soffici said. “This project has great promise.

“We are grateful to the Cottage Health System administration and to UCSB leaders for recognizing the great value in cooperation between clinicians and researchers, and for breaking down many of the barriers that previously existed for this kind of project.”

— Maria Zate is the marketing and public affairs manager for Cottage Health System.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >