The Human Placenta Project

Another way to predict GDM?

Visceral Adipose Tissue Depth Measured During First Trimester Of Pregnancy May Predict Gestational Diabetes Better Than Current Clinical Indicators, Study Indicates

Medwire News (4/20, McDermid) reports, "Visceral adipose tissue depth...measured during the first trimester of pregnancy predicts gestational diabetes better than current clinical indicators," investigators concluded. What's more, "the technique had a positive... more »

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Circulating Factors - Premeeting Discussion Summary

Key Achievements & Breakthroughs

Description and potential roles of placental extracellular vesicles (EVs)

Circulating RNAs, placental microRNAs

Advances in genomics, sequencing technologies & cfDNA field

Bioinformatics advances integrating information across different omics datasets

Recognition of placental sexual dimorphism

Discovery of placental cells shedding into the cervix

Recognition of protein misfolding... more »

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Placental mechanisms of perinatal stroke

Perinatal stroke causes most unilateral cerebral palsy and leads to lifelong neurological disability for millions. Strong indirect evidence suggests placental thromboembolism is the most common cause of perinatal arterial ischemic stroke. As many newborns with stroke only develop symptoms days or months after the stroke occurs, acquiring placental tissue for pathological examination is challenging. However, combining... more »

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Hearing all voices - Premeeting Discussion Summary - Tracy Bale and Ann Celi

Community Engagement Challenges and Opportunities

• BEGIN in this space, VALUE diverse populations and put them at the center of your efforts

o remember racial/ethnic cultural diversity is not always present in biobanks

• This takes real TIME, needs to be a concerted and consistent effort in relationship building, trust-building.

• Will need to build TRUST- this may include community leaders such as local church/faith... more »

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Envisioning the Future: Premeeting Discussion Summary

It is easy for a crystal ball to predict that the future will include enhanced technology, i.e. digital medicine, higher resolution ultrasound, etc; novel biomarkers, including both genomic and proteomic markers, that can be used to predict disease risk or evaluate disease status; and expansive data repositories containing patient data, physician notes and patient reported outcomes and the lifetime histories of the mother... more »

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Check out Welcome Page to see grouped Premeeting Discussion Summaries!

There were premeeting planning discussions across all 7 themes. As the moderators upload summaries we are pinning them to the Welcome page (click "Welcome" at top). You can scroll down to the bottom to see them. We would love questions and comments/suggestions. This is intended to be transparent and inclusive.

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Big Data, AI/ML: Treasure Chest of Pandora's box?

Women's health and obstetrics in general, and the placenta, in particular, have not received the same level of research focus as many specific disease areas in spite of impacting much greater numbers of people because of appropriate limitation in experimental approaches. The measurement and aggregation of significant data over the course of a pregnancy (and post-partum) involving clinical and physiological biomarkers... more »

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Challenges in Ultrasound - Premeeting Discussion Summary

What are the most exciting features coming out of ultrasound research?

• 3D/4D automation with real-time post-processing

• MRI/US fusion – has been usefully employed in gyne. cancer

• AI and deep learning is definitely at the forefront of the recent advances

• Functional information on target organs such as the placenta with tools including Volume Flow and FMBV

• Novel US techniques such as wave reflection in the... more »

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Applying a Systems-based Approach

We have begun to apply systems biology to identify potential biomarkers to enhance our understanding of the biology of placental development and improve the care of mother and developing fetus. Pregnancy, however, is like the 3-body challenge in physics as it intimately involves both the individual and interactive development of the pregnant mother, the fetus and the placenta. These interactions and their potential impact... more »

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CRISPR Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression

Was alerted to a CRISPR approach that allows epigenetic regulation of gene expression. This might prove extremely useful for exploring the maternal/fetal/placental ecosystem in animal models.

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2021/04/420306/new-crispr-technology-offers-unrivaled-control-epigenetic-inheritance

and https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)00353-6

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MRI - Premeeting Discussion Summary

MRI Safety in First Trimester

Is there a need for a consensus statement from experts representing major societies such as ISMRM, RSNA, SPR, Obstetrics and Gynecology (e.g. Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, ISUOG), about the safety of fetal MRI, particularly in the first trimester for research purposes as no specific FDA guidelines exist?

Some sites using as early as 12 weeks.

Do we need more nonhuman primate studies?... more »

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Next-gen Ultrasound & Functional Evaluation of the Placenta

Research groups in medical image analysis and ultrasonics as well as vendors have shown great progress in the last few years to generate new techniques to better evaluate the placenta. A number of complimentary techniques are now available that when used together could generate new high-impact techniques to assess function in the clinic such as:

Ultra-fast Ultrasound (using clinically available Plane-Wave (Supersonic... more »

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Placenta as environmental protector

The placenta is a critical barrier and protector of the developing fetus from environmental insult. Growing data suggests that the chemical assault on the human placenta is larger than we ever appreciated and rapidly expanding. Understanding how the placenta both protects and is sex-specifically affected by the chemical contaminants every human body now contains is vital for understanding fetal health and the health of... more »

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Basic Research Premeeting Discussion Summary - L Myatt & Y Sadovsky

Key Achievements/Breakthroughs

• Development of trophoblast and decidual organoids

• Induced pluripotent stem cells

• Introduction of single cell and spatial technology to probe placental biology

• Appreciation of the roles of extracellular vesicles and the development of tools to probe their mechanism of action and function

• Advances in "omics" technologies and integration of "omic" data

• Emergence of microfluidic... more »

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Is VEGF the cause of multi-organ dysfunction during preeclampsia ?

The proper identification and clinical management of preeclampsia have been my passion since becoming an ob-gyn physician in 1987. The disproportionate deaths of pregnant women and new moms, especially women of color are unsettling. Early angiogenic markers that help identify increased risk factors for the diagnosis of preeclampsia would be monumental.

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