Nasal Spray Could End the Agony of Miscarriage; Research Signals New Hope for Mothers with Rare Blood Group

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), April 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Nasal Spray Could End the Agony of Miscarriage; Research Signals New Hope for Mothers with Rare Blood Group


Byline: PETER DOYLE

A NASAL spray developed by Scottish scientists could end the misery of miscarriage for thousands of mothers.

Researchers at Aberdeen University have developed the spray for women with Rhesus negative blood, who are at high risk of losing their babies.

If their unborn children do not share the same rare blood group, the mothers can produce antibodies against them.

Any subsequent babies are then open to attack by the mother's immune system, which attempts to destroy their red blood cells.

Doctors currently inject Rhesus negative mothers with Anti-D blood plasma to eliminate the risk of miscarriage. But this the process is painful and, because it used donated blood, risks infecting the women with variant CJD - the human form of mad cow disease.

Using a synthetic version of what is known as a peptide, researchers have now found a way of switching off the potentially deadly immune reaction.

If clinical trials are successful, Professor Stan Urbaniak and his research partner Dr Robert Barker hope the vaccine will replace the Anti-D blood treatment.

The vaccine's developers say it could stop the heartache of Rhesusassociated miscarriage for 1.3 million woman across the world. But they have yet to start clinical trials of the vaccine and require several million pounds of funding. …

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