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£2m research centre for women's health launches

Barts Charity has awarded £2m to establish a Barts Research Centre for Women's Health. The pioneering new research centre will focus on improving the health of mothers and babies.

The ethnically diverse population of East London has a significantly increased risk of maternal and newborn complications, including diabetes where it has the highest rates in all of England with 10-15% of local mothers developing it in pregnancy.

Now, researchers at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London are creating a dedicated centre - Barts Research Centre for Women’s Health (BARC) - for landmark research to improve the health of women before, during and after pregnancy.

“Diabetes, bleeding following childbirth, obesity – these are all key problems for our local community,” says Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, joint lead researcher on the programme. “But we’re creating a visibility at a national level too, addressing problems in mothers who need it most and helping to put findings into clinical practice nationwide.”

The suite of research will focus on conception, pregnancy, birth, and post-birth, focusing on the following projects:

More successful IVF treatments 

  • The use of novel time-lapse imaging technology to identify the healthiest embryos for use in IVF treatments

Preventing diabetes in pregnancy

  • How we can prevent diabetes during pregnancy and its long-term risks

Preventing excessive bleeding during childbirth 

  • Looking at the effectiveness of a blood product called “cryoprecipitate” to prevent bleeding during childbirth

Preventing post-birth diabetes 

  • Whether diet – specifically a Mediterranean diet involving more food such as olive oil and nuts – can improve health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes post-birth for women who’ve suffered from diabetes during pregnancy.

Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists who will officially open the centre says: “It is a real privilege to launch the new Barts Research Centre for Women’s Health. With a world leading research programme, the centre will help improve the health and wellbeing of women and to give their babies the best possible start in life.

Of particular importance is the need to focus on health inequalities and challenges faced by women across East London as well as nationally and globally."

“We’re excited by the potential of this new programme for Women’s Health research,” added Fiona Miller Smith, Chief Executive of Barts Charity. “We’re committed to funding projects that make a real difference to the immediate communities we support, as well as impacting on healthcare on a broader scale.”

- ENDS -


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