It is released by the brain in response to stress. In
the placenta, it is increasingly produced through-
37 and 41 weeks, stress hormones known as glucocorti-
coids initiate a reconfiguration through the signaling path-
way, causing a surge of CRH in the placenta and triggering
mother, the fetus, and the placenta. The body is designed to
keep the mother and fetus safe. When it recognizes that the
fetus is too big to support, it places stress on the placenta
and begins the process of birth.
switch on before the fetus is full term?
the surge in CRH. Although there are no known chemical
inhibitors for the signaling pathway, the team screened
approximately 1,300 candidate drugs and determined that
eight have the potential to halt the process of labor if it
occurs too early.
could lead to better cures for preterm labor," Dr. Wang says.
disorder--unique in that only women who are pregnant are
research so important; it is a significant, national public
health issue," Dr. Wang explains.
affects more than 11 percent of women in the United States,
meaning that one in every nine newborns is affected. About
35 percent of infant deaths can be attributed to complica-
tions of preterm labor. One in 50 pregnancies experience
preterm labor before 32 weeks, one in 200 pregnancies
before 28 weeks of gestation. Women of African descent
are twice as likely to deliver early as women from other eth-
private support for the work. Benefunder is a new tool that
connects investigators with philanthropists who care about
their cause, offering additional financial support that can-
not be garnered through traditional channels.
drug therapies," says Dr. Rosen. "With funding from private
donors, we can broaden our study and look at other genes
explains Dr. Rosen. "One of my mentors told me that if I
research, then I had better do something important. To me,
there is nothing more important than ending the preterm
delivery epidemic in this country."