| Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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 Ohio Scientist Seeks New Ways To Predict And Prevent Preterm Birth

Columbus, Ohio, April 28, 2015 —

An Ohio based scientist received a grant from the March of Dimes to improve understanding of the biology of labor and delivery and discover what triggers the onset of preterm labor. What he learns could advance development of novel drugs and other treatments to help prevent preterm birth.

John J. Moore, MD, of Case Western Reserve University and MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, is among five scientists who were awarded 2015 March of Dimes Prematurity Research Initiative (PRI) grants.

Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death. Worldwide, more than one million children die each year due to complications of premature birth. Babies who survive an early birth often face lifetime health challenges, such as vision and breathing problems, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities.

In 2013, the U.S. preterm birth rate dropped to 11.4 percent, the lowest in 17 years. While moving in the right direction, the rate is still above the March of Dimes goal of lowering the national rate to 9.6 percent. The U.S. rate also exceeds that of most high-resource countries, ranking 37th out of 39 high-resource countries in 2010. In Ohio, the preterm birth rate is 12.1 percent.

"Dr. Moore's research has been key to our understanding of the fetal membranes and their role in preterm birth," said Brian Mercer, MD, chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at MetroHealth. "This new study will provide important information to help prevent early deliveries, in Cleveland and across the country."

Since 2004, the March of Dimes has committed more than $28 million to the PRI grants. The grants are one of several March of Dimes grant programs available to researchers.

Dr. Moore, is working to understand what causes weakening of the amniotic sac (bag of waters) and preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM). PPROM contributes to about 40 percent of preterm births.

“The causes of about half of all preterm births are unknown. Research aimed at identifying the unknown causes of preterm birth is crucial for development of effective treatments to prevent premature births,” says Dr. Jennifer Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “Prevention is the way to save babies from the death and disability caused by preterm birth.”


About March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites and To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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 baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit or for more information. Visit for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.