Pregnancy represents a unique medical situation where there are two patients with differing needs and potential clinical problems. Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) represents the full understanding that there are two patients that interact within the confines of one pregnancy.
Current medical technology allows for the easy assessment of the mother; however, physicians are severely limited in their ability to understand and assess the developing fetus. To date, ultrasound and fetal heart rate monitoring has been the mainstay of fetal assessment. In addition, there are a small number of single-determinant diagnostic immunoassays that are used in early pregnancy to assess the risk of congenital abnormalities. However, these usually involve invasive procedures like amniocentesis. Current technology is limited to point-in-time assessments and offers little in the way of predictive or prognostic value.
The Molecular Biometrics Solution
At Molecular Biometrics, researchers are developing technology that is expected to enable obstetricians to monitor the health status of the growing fetus in-utero, non-invasively.
Using the Company’s platform technology of biospectroscopy-based metabolite profiling(link to tech platform page), the obstetrician will be able to monitor the metabolic status of the fetus by assessing biomarkers in the amniotic fluid at any time during the pregnancy.
Furthermore, MB will offer the first diagnostic method in obstetrics to have significant predictive value of important fetal growth parameters. Moreover, the technology may also provide physicians with a sensitive means of monitoring changes in fetal health in response to interventional therapy, thus serving as a sensitive monitoring tool.
Preliminary studies have shown that certain metabolic activity observed in amniotic fluid at approximately 16 weeks correlates with birth weight abnormalities, preterm birth and levels of lactate and uric acid measurements. Currently, the utility of this predictive ability is limited to only those pregnancies undergoing amniocentesis. However, MB has the technology available to make transdermal measurements of metabolomic profiles through tissues up to 1cm thick using NIR spectral analysis.
Physicians working in concert with the Company’s scientific team have studied the metabolic profiles of various biomarkers in amniotic fluid and have correlated the profiles to various stages of fetal development. Studies have demonstrated that amniotic fluid can be used to predict final fetal birth weight at term as early as 16 weeks of gestation. In addition, researchers are able to determine if the fetus is at risk of developing intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) as well as the likelihood of the mother developing gestational diabetes in pregnancy.
The ability to quickly and accurately assess the health status of the developing fetus will allow physicians to investigate other conditions in pregnancy where the fetus may be at risk.
Preliminary data will be available soon. For more information Contact Us.
Nahum G, Estimations of fetal weight. eMedicine Journal. 2002. 3: p. 1-12. /web/20100810150530/http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic3281.htm.
Ghezzi F, Franchi, Raio M, Di Naro L, Bossi E, D’Eril GVM, Bolis P. Elevated amniotic fluid C-reactive protein at the time of genetic amniocentesis is a marker for preterm delivery. Amer J Obstet Gynec, 2002. 186: 268-73.
Koski KG, Liu X-J, Tisi DK, Rochon LC, Galler AR, Kessner C, Luskey G. Nutrient composition of human amniotic fluid: its potential role in predicting low birth weight or macrosomia. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2002. 75: 394S–395S.
Peleg D, Kennedy CM, Hunter SK Intrauterine growth restriction: identification and management. Am Fam Physician. 1998, 58: p. 453-60.
Schwartz R, Teramo KA. What is the significance of macrosomia? Diabetes Care.,
1999. 222: p. 1201-5.
Lumley J, Defining the problem: the epidemiology of preterm birth. BJOG, 2003. 110: p. 3-7.
Faltin D, Cecatti JG, Surita FGC, Souza JP. Predictors of preterm birth. Intl J Gynecol Obstet. 2006. 94: p. 5-11.
Pitkin RM, Reynolds WA. Fetal ingestion and metabolism of amniotic fluid protein. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1975. 123: p. 256-63.
Koski KG, Fergusoon MA. Amniotic fluid composition responds to changes in maternal dietary carbohydrate and is related to metabolic status in term fetal rats.
J Nutr. 1992. 122: p. 385-92.
Tisi DK, Emard JJ, Koski KG. Total Protein Concentration in Human Amniotic Fluid Is Negatively Associated with Infant Birth Weight. J. Nutr. 2004. 134: p. 1754-8.
Tisi DK, Liu XJ, Wykes LJ, Skinner CD, Koski KG. Insulin-Like Growth Factor II and Binding Proteins 1 and 3 from Second Trimester Human Amniotic Fluid Are associated with infant birth weight. Human Nutrition and Metabolism. 2005. 135: p. 1667-2.
Elian KM. The relation between amniotic fluid constituents and human growth, in Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. July 1999, McGill University: Montreal.
Leonardi L, Burns DH, Oppenheimer L, Michel R. Near-infrared spectroscopic measurement of lactate in human blood. Talanta. 2001. 4: p. 635-64.
Eguiuz A, Bernal AL, McPherson K, Parrilla JJ, Abad L. The use of intrapartum fetal blood lactate measurements for the early diagnosis of fetal distress.
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1983. 147: p. 949–54.