New Biomarkers May Assist with Pre-eclampsia Diagnosis
By on October 22nd, 2012

Pre-eclampsia is one of the most dreaded conditions a pregnant woman faces. It is a deadly condition that causes the mother’s blood pressure to skyrocket. It also is associated with a buildup of protein that can cause damage the mother’s kidneys and is potentially life threatening. Some encouraging research is coming out of the University of California Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering(UCSB). Working in conjunction with the Cottage Health System, the researchers have found potential new biomarkers that may assist with pre-eclampsia diagnosis and treatment.


Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In the study, Dr. Alex Soffici, perinatologist with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and Patrick Daugherty, professor and vice-chair of the chemical engineering department at UCSB collected plasma samples over a period of two years from both normal-outcome mothers and those who experienced pre-eclampsia. Serra Elliott, UCSB graduate researcher, used the sample to analyze for possible biomarkers. What they were able to find was a specific set of antibodies in the mothers with pre-eclampsia that weren’t present in the mother’s with normal pregnancies. According to a USCB press release, Daugherty said, “We developed a separation process to sift through enormous numbers of distinct molecules present in blood to identify those few that are uniquely present in patients with pre-eclampsia…Since our process simultaneously identifies biochemical reagents that can capture the disease biomarkers, there is an opportunity to create an effective diagnostic test for this prevalent disorder and possibly for other diseases where definitive tests are not yet available.”

This is very encouraging news because pre-eclampsia is so dangerous and is currently very difficult to diagnose and distinguish from other syndromes with similar symptoms. For more information about the research visit

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Author: Darrin Jenkins Google Profile for Darrin Jenkins
Darrin is an IT manager for a large electrical contractor in Louisville KY. He is married and has 3 kids. He loves helping people with their technology needs. He runs a blog called Say Geek!

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