A WMAHSN-supported programme is to be instrumental in a major research project which gets underway in April, aimed at tackling the long-term issue of miscarriages.
The Comprehensive Unified Research (CURe) programme will be used by the National Tommy’s Centre for Early Miscarriage Care and Research (NEMC) to build a sophisticated database to support clinical researchers in collecting research data. The NEMC is the first in the UK - and the largest in Europe - and the University of Warwick has been chosen as a partner, together with the University of Birmingham and Imperial College London.
Around 250,000 miscarriages occur every year in the UK, and roughly a third of women suffer more than one of these traumatic events. Researchers from Warwick Medical School and the university’s Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) will be involved in the project to better understand miscarriage. The IDH’s Professor Theo Arvanitis - who is also the WMAHSN Theme Director for Digital Health - is leading the team, which will develop CURe to support the NEMC and evolve a sophisticated predictive model to reduce the number of miscarriages.
“Tommy’s, the baby and pregnancy charity, funded the project and we’ve assembled a very powerful consortium across the three centres,” he said. “We’ll have a large group of academics in our work team, and will be using modules from our existing CURe Framework, which a key reason that our tender was accepted. We’ll also be creating a national database, initially by taking information from all three centres.
“Once we’ve brought together all the existing online clinical data, we can add new data so it will effectively act as a registry for information on miscarriages. We’ll then be able to harness the power of this data to identify the major influences on this condition.”
Prof Arvanitis expects assembling the initial tranche of data to take less than two years. At the same time, other consortium members in
life sciences and healthcare will be exploring potential new techniques to reduce the incidence of miscarriages.
“It’s a lengthy programme of study, including controlled trials. We hope to start a pilot after two years, and by year four to be building the
database at a national level,” he said. “There has already been much research into miscarriages, so we can gradually create a fusion of data and clinical trials to discover the best outcomes. The 250,000 figure is between 10% and 15% of all births, so a surprisingly large percentage. Age, general health, previous history, environment and lifestyle are all major factors, and smoking remains a significant influence. However, until now there hasn’t been the resources to create a predictive model which allows data-driven conclusions to be reached.”