The Human Placenta Project

Single cell and placental research

I am the Principal Investigator of new birth cohort study that is currently being planned and will be implemented in Nigeria. We plan to collect biological samples including placental tissue. We will appreciate insight from investigators in the field about how single cell research will advance scientific investigation of the placenta within the context of developmental origin of health and diseases. This will enable know... more »

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The Human Placenta Project

Considerations for engaging all communities

Our Centre in Manchester, UK has learnt the following lessons when trying to engage with, or recruit pregnant women for different communities into clinical studies:

- Many close knit and private communities can view health services that lie outside their community as "not for them". Approaching women via nurses, midwives or health services within their community can help to build bridges.

- There can be hesitancy or... more »

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The Human Placenta Project

Theme A Actionable

Within THEME A: BASIC PLACENTA RESEARCH

A1. Identify the most significant recent achievements (technical/understanding) that position the field to gain a deeper understanding of human placenta development and function and support their advancement.

A2. Address the key knowledge gaps that hinder our capability to understand placenta development and function across pregnancy within the maternal/fetal/placenta ecosystem.... more »

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Supporting People with Disabilities

The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (located within the NICHD) would like to highlight three issues that may arise in the context of the Human Placenta Project:

• Ensure that people with disabilities (PWD) are included among the subject populations – and special efforts are made to support their reproductive health and opportunities. Often, PWD are not asked about reproductive health and are not offered... more »

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The Human Placenta Project

Nothing makes sense except in the light of evolution

Like all biological structures, the placenta is the outcome of a historical evolutionary process. Thus, in order to understand the development, structure, and (dys)function of the placenta we must reconstruct the developmental evolutionary history of the maternal-fetal interface. The NICHD Human Placenta Project covers a wide breadth of research topics, but a noticeable gap is the lack of evolutionary studies that explicitly... more »

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The Human Placenta Project

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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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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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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Optimising testing of new therapeutics to ensure an effective pathway to translation.

Currently, not enough time or funding is invested in the pre-clinical and early phase clinical testing of new therapies to treat pregnancy complications. At present, we often jump from animal models to clinical trials using a single dose of the therapy, and test it in women with a "broad" and/or severe phenotype of disease. We do this without gathering pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic/dosing information from these women,... more »

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Need for a strategic approach to clinical biomarker discovery

The drug development world has evolved a set of generally agreed upon steps for advancing potential targets forward. This is in part because the end goal - FDA approval and commercial viability drive the requirements and processes. The identification of clinically useful biomarkers is often an outcome of basic research into a biologic process that tangentially is recognized to have clinical utility. Validation processes... more »

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Multi-component systems to model the Placenta ecosystem

The maternal/fetal/placenta ecosystem is complex, with dynamic communication happening among all of the components. Leveraging tissue on a chip technologies one can envision studying interactions of decidua, maternal blood component, immune cells, placenta, etc. to systematically interrogate key interactions. I wonder whether the community feels this is feasible, and also whether iPSC blastoids would be useful in such... more »

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The Human Placenta Project

Implantable placental biochemical sensors

The real-time biolochemical millieu of the devloping placenta is completely unknown. Sensors exist to sample microscopic changes in bioactive compounds in the atmosphere (for environmental health), and small biosensors have been developed to monitor hormonal and biochemical activity in tumors, for example. While not performed in every pregnancy, chorionic villus sampling is performed during pregnancy (removal of placental... more »

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Placental cell units and integrated funtions

Understanding the placenta from the cell unit constitution and the detailed cell diversity using new tools such as single cell approaches. The complexity of placental functions as a result of the integrated interaction between all trophoblasts subtypes, there is a big gap on the knowledge regarding the exact placental cellular diversity and individual functions (functional nodes). What we know so far and which are the... more »

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Simultaneous maternal and fetal blood flow assessment in the placenta using umbilical vein Doppler

A big issue in assessment of placental abnormalities in vivo is that the placenta has two separate blood supplies, maternal and fetal. Presently, there are no easy ways to directly assess these contributing flows at the same time. If there were such a method, it could greatly enhance placental evaluation in a myriad of ways. For instance, it would be possible to show the effects of various therapies on both the maternal... more »

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