New Biorepository Opens in Seattle to Help Uncover Mysteries of Pregnancy and Childbirth
Rare combination of pregnancy specimens and data now available to scientists working to improve maternal, newborn, and child health worldwide
The Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), an initiative of Seattle Children’s, has launched an internationally accessible biorepository to advance innovative research of both normal and abnormal pregnancies, including how pregnancy affects maternal and child health after delivery. Named the GAPPS Repository, it is the only collection of specimens linked to detailed information from pregnant women that is available to a wide range of researchers.
High quality specimens such as maternal blood and urine, cervical vaginal swabs, placenta tissue, and cord blood, are collected from the first trimester through the postpartum period. The specimens are paired with information about the mothers’ preconception, current pregnancy, environmental exposures, medical and reproductive history, mental health, nutritional intake, and behaviors.
“While pregnancy specimen biobanks have been developed before, this is the first time that specimens paired with information about mothers and their pregnancies have been made widely accessible,” said Craig Rubens, MD, PhD, executive director of GAPPS. “The GAPPS Repository provides a critical resource for maternal and child health researchers to study multiple factors at different points throughout pregnancy.”
The GAPPS Repository was created to:
- Help researchers discover biomarkers and create screening tools to identify women and babies at risk for preterm birth and stillbirth
- Translate scientific discoveries into promising diagnostic, treatment and prevention strategies
- Conduct studies focused on poor birth outcomes and the fetal origin of adult diseases, with the potential for determining causes and developing cures for both acute and chronic diseases
“Many adult health problems can be traced to fetal development,” Dr. Rubens said. “With these specimens, researchers can begin to understand what causes adverse pregnancy outcomes, and develop novel interventions to prevent them.”
The GAPPS Repository currently has more than 8,000 individual specimens available to scientists, with 800-900 specimens being added each month. The collection includes contributions from women representing a range of racial, ethnic, regional, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
GAPPS Repository lab scientists oversee each step in the sample collection and storage process in order to build and maintain the highest quality specimen bank. In addition, GAPPS upholds strict standards ofprivacy and confidentiality, with materials identified only by number and participant names kept in protected files at each collection site.
“My first pregnancy resulted in a premature birth, and when I heard about the GAPPS Repository during my second pregnancy, I wanted to help advance the pregnancy and childbirth research that is happening,” said Leslie Tuomisto, a GAPPS Repository donor. “Donating took very little effort; it was just providing samples that were already being taken anyway.”
To request specimens, scientists can visit www.gapps.org/repository or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi-resolution photos of the GAPPS Repository and more can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gapps/sets/72157629536440405/
The Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), an initiative of Seattle Children’s, leads a collaborative, global effort to increase awareness and accelerate innovative research and interventions that will improve maternal, newborn and child health outcomes around the world.
About Seattle Children’s
Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.
Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.
Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.
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