Biomarkers for a successful pregnancy

Thursday, 17 October 2013

This is a Euroscicon Small Conference,  an outline of the day can be found at

Biomarkers for a successful pregnancy
Thursday, 17 October 2013 09:00 - 17:00

Cineworld: The O2
Peninsula Square
SE10 0DX
United Kingdom

Map and Directions

Successful biomarker profiling in pregnant or prenatal women could not only help predict the pregnancy risk to mothers, but also survival rate of the unborn child and any possible future complications. There is a wide range of possibility for using biomarkers in pregnancy and prenatal testing.  For example, research is currently being undertaken to identify biomarkers for

  • Identifying: ectopic pregnancy, potential rejection of pregnancy by the mother, possible cardiovascular issues,maternal autoimmune development and hypertensive disorders

  • Assessing: pregnancy outcome

  • Revealing: maternal alcohol consumption and maternal tobacco use

  • Avoiding: reducing multiple pregnancy                                                                                                                                                               

to highlight just a few. This event aims to focus on the current research in this area and discuss the way forward in using biomarkers as a predictive and diagnostic tool to improve pregnancy outcome internationally.

This event has CPD accreditation and is part of the 2013 Pregnancy Summit -

Meeting Chair: Professor Gordon C S Smith, Professor & Head of Department, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cambridge University

Who Should Attend:

Biotech and Pharma Industry Managers: CEOs, Chief Scientists, Group Heads, Senior and Junior Scientists, researchers in the field of biomarkers or pregnancy
Academic and Research Institutes: Group and Lab Heads, Postdoctoral Scientists and Research Students working in the field of biomarkers or pregnancy
Clinicians: Anyone working in the field of pregnancy and diagnosing pregnancy-related illnesses and pregnancy outcome

The deadline for abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations  has now passed.

Talk times include 5 – 10 minutes for questions

9:00 – 9:45         Registration

9:45 – 10:00       Introduction by the Chair:  Professor Gordon C S Smith, Professor & Head of Department, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cambridge University, UK

10:00 – 10:30      Proteomic biomarkers for the prediction of pre-eclampsia in nulliparous women

Dr Jenny Myers, Clinical Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester, UK
Preeclampsia, a serious hypertensive pregnancy complication, is largely unpredictable in healthy nulliparous pregnant women. Accurate preeclampsia prediction in this population would transform antenatal care. We have applied proteomic methods in samples (n=600) obtained through the international SCOPE study in order to identify potential markers predictive of this condition. Candidate proteins have been verified using novel mass spectrometry assays using selective reaction monitoring. Two experimental models will be presented; novel candidate markers pregnancy specific glycoproteins 2, 5 and 9, Insulin-like growth factor acid labile subunit, Serine peptidase inhibitor Kunitz type 1 , Melanoma cell adhesion molecule and Selenoprotein P. The potential predictive performance of these markers will be discussed.

10:30 – 11:00     Screening low risk women for adverse pregnancy outcome

Professor Gordon C S Smith, Professor & Head of Department,Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cambridge University, UK
Screening low-risk women for the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome, such as pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restricition (FGR), is still largely based on clinical assessment, due to negative trials of new methods. I argue that previous studies have weaknesses in their design and have focused on preterm complications despite the lack of clearly effective interventions to improve outcome. A significant proportion of severe pre-eclampsia and FGR occurs at term and could plausibly be prevented by novel screening tests and early term delivery of high-risk women. It is likely that combining ultrasonic assessment and maternal biomarkers could provide clinically useful prediction of risk.

11:00 – 11:30      Speakers’ photo then mid-morning break and poster exhibition and trade show

11:30 – 12:00      Cell transfer between mother and child in pregnancy

Dr Kathleen Gillespie, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol, UK
The bi-directional transfer of cells between mother and child in pregnancy resulting in microchimerism is now well accepted but effects on health and disease remain controversial.  In this presentation, the current understanding of  the long term effects of these cells on autoimmunity and tissue repair will be addressed.

12:00  – 12:30    Intrauterine inflammation - Different etiologies and implication

Professor Bo Jacobsson, Head Perinatal Laboratory, Deparment of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Sahlgrenska University, Gothenberg, Sweden
Preterm delivery is the major problem in international perinatal medicine. Spontaneous preterm delivery is related to intra-amniotic inflammation. We have in several papers evaluated the influence of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) and histological chorioamnionitis (HCA) on the magnitude of intra-amniotic inflammatory and fetal inflammatory response. In the presentation this will be integrated into the contemporary literature in the area. In the presentation also direction of further research areas will be given.

12:30  – 13:30    Lunch, poster exhibition and trade show

13:30 – 14:30     Discussion Session

This discussion session is an informal question and answer session.  This is an ideal opportunity to get advice and opinion from experts in this area.  This session is not for questions about specific talks, which can be asked after the speakers session, but for discussing either general topics or specific issues.
There are three ways you can ask questions:
1.   Before the session you can submit your question to Euroscicon staff at the registration desk,
2.   Before and during the session you can submit a question or comments, by email, which will be provided on the day of the event
3.   During the session you can put your hand up and join in

14:30 – 15:00      Oral Presentations:




(1)M Griffin, MBChB, Clinical Research Fellow, (1)S Duckworth, MBBS, Clinical Research Fellow, (1)PT Seed, CStat, Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics, (1) LC Chappell, PhD, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Maternal and Fetal Medicine, (1) AH Shennan, MD, Professor of Obstetrics,
1 Women's Health Academic Centre, King's College London, 10th floor North Wing, St Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH United Kingdom


H.D. Mistry (1), K Bramham (1), S. Lynham MSc (2), M.A. Ward2, D. Arya (1), L. Poston (1) and L.C.
Chappell (1).
1Women's Health Academic Centre, King’s College London, St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, SE1 7EH and 2Centre of Excellence for Mass Spectrometry, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, SE5 8AF.


Dr Louisa. M Tsweleng, University of Venda, Thohoyandoy, South Africa

15:00 – 15:30      Afternoon Tea,  last poster session and trade show

15:30 – 16:00      Ectopic pregnancy biomarkers

Dr Andrew Horne, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK
Ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed using transvaginal ultrasound and serial serum beta-human chorionic gonadotrophin levels. Diagnosis is often delayed and these tests are time-consuming and costly, both psychologically to the patient and financially to health services. The development of a biomarker that differentiates a tubal ectopic from an intrauterine implantation is therefore important. In the pre-genomic era, a one-by-one scientific approach has revealed over 20 candidate biomarkers that could be used as a test to diagnose ectopic pregnancy although at present their clinical utility is very limited. Recent approaches using microarray and proteomic technology have facilitated the identification of further biomarkers.

16:00 – 16:30     Maternal urinary metabolomics and proteomic screening for Downs Syndrome pregnancy – accurate, earlier, faster and affordable.

Professor Ray Iles, ELK Foundation for Health Research and MAP Diagnostics, UK
Screening for Downs Syndrome pregnancy is based on the quantitative measurement of a panel of serum biochemical markers. Recently maternal blood circulating cell free fetal DNA (ccFFDNA), subjected to quantitative genomics and bioinformatics has been developed as a new screening test: The results being generated in days/weeks. We have been examining the mass spectral profiles of maternal urinary metabolites in women who carried an aneuploid fetus. MALDI-ToF analysis of neat urine detected all Downs syndrome pregnancies at <14 weeks with no false positives. This test is more accurate, earlier, faster than current practice. Its advantage over ccffDNA testing is in health logistics (urine can be collected at home and results in hours) and cost – 100 times cheaper.  

16:30 - 17:00    Obesity and pregnancy – searching for biomarkers of future disease

Professor Rebecca Reynolds, Professor of Metabolic Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician, UoE/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science, UK
One in five women in the UK are obese at antenatal booking. Obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased risks for the mother (eg. gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia) and the offspring (eg. stillbirth, being born large for gestational age). The effects of maternal obesity for the child extend beyond the in utero environment with increased risk of later life obesity, metabolic disorders and premature death from cardiovascular disease. In our research clinic we characterise women with very severe obesity (BMI>40 kg/m2) in detail in order to understand mechanisms linking maternal obesity with adverse outcomes and to identify targets for intervention.

17:00               Chair’s Summary and Close of Meeting

Keywords:  pregnancy, biomarkers, ectopic pregnancy, biomarker, cost, microarray, proteomics, Pre-eclampsia; Fetal growth restriction; Placenta; Ultrasound, preterm delivery, intra-amniotic inflammation, histologic chorioamnionitis, microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity, Downs Syndrome, Screening, Urinary metabolomics, pre-eclampsia, mass sepctrometry, selective reaction monitoring, nulliparous, screening, Pregnancy, obesity, cardiovascular disease, glucocorticoids, birthweight

Registration Website:


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