One in 10 babies in the United States is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and for the better part of two decades University of Pennsylvania researcher Michal Elovitz has been trying to understand why such spontaneous preterm births occur.
The field has moved closer to an answer, with work published this week in Science about a non-invasive blood test that can potentially determine gestational age and predict preterm delivery. Elovitz, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine and director of Penn’s Maternal and Child Health Research Center, contributed data to the research and conducted a scientific review of the just-released paper.
Penn Today spoke with Elovitz about biomarkers in the bloods known as cell-free RNA, the effect of these biomarkers on pregnancy, and their potential for helping predict women at risk for delivering early.
Michal Elovitz is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine and a maternal-fetal medicine attending physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Center for Research in Reproduction and Women’s Health and director of the Maternal and Child Health Research Center, as well as an investigator for the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center. Funding for the research came from the March of Dimes.