March of Dimes and Ferring Pharmaceuticals today announced that March of Dimes has selected Imperial College London as the first European partner to join its network of Prematurity Research Centers working to find the unknown causes of preterm birth and new ways to prevent it.
This March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Imperial College London is supported by a grant from Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Both Ferring and March of Dimes are committed to advancing research to help prevent the 15 million preterm births each year worldwide. Preterm birth is responsible for 1.1 million infant deaths each year.1
"We’re delighted that the talented scientists at Imperial College London will join as the sixth March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center to help us get closer to a world in which all babies are born healthy," said Stacey D. Stewart, president of March of Dimes. "It's vital that our team is able to share information and findings with colleagues outside of the U.S., in order to accelerate the discovery of solutions to the serious problem of premature birth."
"Globally, too many babies are being born too soon, and too many families are suffering the consequences," said Per Falk, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, Ferring Pharmaceuticals. "Ferring is committed to addressing unmet patient needs in reproductive medicine and women's health, including the growing rates of preterm birth worldwide. We believe that this new center will accelerate the development of new healthcare solutions that are urgently needed to help babies that are born earlier than expected."
Phillip Bennett, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College London, and the principal investigator of the new Centre, said, "We are proud to have been selected to join the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center family. Imperial College London and its partner hospitals have renowned clinics for supporting women who deliver preterm, as well as a long tradition of ground-breaking research in this area. As London is a truly global city, we are also fortunate to encompass a large and diverse patient population.
"Our teams of world-class scientists will be using the latest technologies, some unique to Imperial, to study how the body recognises and interacts with bacteria and other microbes in the birth canal. This will enable us to develop methods for predicting -- and ultimately preventing -- preterm birth."
The March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Imperial College London will be a partnership between the College and three major London hospitals: Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea, St. Mary's Hospital, and Chelsea and Westminster. Each of these hospitals deliver around 5,000 babies a year.
The network of March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers encompasses approximately 200 scientists in numerous fields, including obstetrics, neonatology, genetics and genomics, immunology, engineering, informatics, and social sciences. (NOTE: See below for a complete list of the Prematurity Research Centers).
Each March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center is assigned a theme or research target. The theme selected for Imperial College London is entitled, "Microbe-Host Interactions." This team of scientists will identify and characterize these complex processes in order to obtain insight into why some women are at higher risk for preterm birth.
About Preterm Birth
Preterm birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and its consequences are the leading cause of death among children under age five worldwide. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including chronic lung disease, vision and hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities. The preterm birth rate is on the rise in the United States, climbing for a second year in a row in 2016.
About Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a research-driven, specialty biopharmaceutical group committed to helping people around the world build families and live better lives. Headquartered in Saint-Prex, Switzerland, Ferring is a leader in reproductive medicine and women's health, and in specialty areas within gastroenterology and urology. Ferring has been developing treatments for mothers and babies for over 50 years. Today, over one-third of the company's research and development investment goes towards finding innovative and personalised healthcare solutions to help mothers and babies, from conception to birth. Founded in 1950, Ferring now employs approximately 6,500 people worldwide, has its own operating subsidiaries in nearly 60 countries and markets its products in 110 countries.
About Imperial College London
Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 17,000 students and 8,000 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for our society.
Imperial is the UK's most international university, according to Times Higher Education, with academic ties to more than 150 countries. Reuters named the College as the UK's most innovative university because of its exceptional entrepreneurial culture and ties to industry.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every family can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we stand up for every mom and every baby. Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
Because premature birth is such a complex problem, with multiple causes, March of Dimes has chosen Prematurity Research Centers and partners who can use different tools and methods to examine the factors involved in different ways. Each center’s work informs and amplifies the work the other centers are pursuing.
The other five March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers are located at (with date of launch):
- Stanford University School of Medicine (2011);
- Ohio Collaborative (2013);
- Washington University in St. Louis (2014);
- University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (2014);
- University of Chicago-Northwestern University-Duke University (2015).
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1 Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. (WHO, March of Dimes) 2012.
For more information, please contact:
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Imperial College London
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Research Media Officer - Medicine
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March of Dimes
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