Research

Help fund research and save lives

Did you know the best way to improve the outcomes for a seriously ill and premature baby is through research?

Research provides hope and everyone deserves to have hope.

Mater’s world-class research institute—Mater Research—delivers medical and clinical research that translates research findings from ‘bench to bedside’ as quickly as possible; directly benefiting patients at Mater, across Australia and around the world. Right now, a number of promising and world-leading mother and baby research projects are underway, including:

Protecting preterm babies from disability

Associate Professor and Mater Foundation Fellow, Paul Dawson, is hoping to develop a simple, inexpensive treatment to protect preterm babies from adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Babies at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy have an increased risk of neurodisability, including cerebral palsy. They have not yet developed the mechanisms to maintain levels of certain nutrients, including sulphate, important for healthy brain growth and development. If a certain protective blood level of sulphate can be identified, it may be possible to keep blood sulphate at a ‘safe’ level by administering this nutrient after birth.

 


Assessing asthma in pregnancy

The children of mothers with untreated asthma during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from asthma, allergies and cardiovascular disease. There is also an increased chance of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction and stillbirth. Professor Vicki Clifton’s study aims to reduce the number of hospitalisations of pregnant women with asthma. A randomised controlled trial at Mater Mothers’ Hospital will determine the effectiveness of antenatal asthma service for improving outcomes for mums with asthma and their babies.

“We hope that the reduction of asthmatic events during pregnancy could also lead to a long-term improvement in the quality of life for children throughout Australia,” Professor Vicki Clifton, Mater Research.
 

 

Understanding baby heart functions

Very little is known about how a baby’s heart functions in the womb. So Mater researcher and Betty McGrath Fellow, Alison Lee-Tannock, is undertaking a project assessing a number of babies’ cardiac function every four weeks, from 20 weeks’ gestation. An ultrasound will determine how much blood comes in and out with each beat and how well their hearts are working. It is hoped that screening for heart dysfunction will expand the management options available for high-risk pregnancies, ensuring a more personalised approach for each expectant mum.


 

 

Stillbirth research

For one in every 130 women*, tragedy strikes in the second or third trimester of their pregnancy and a family’s much awaited new baby is stillborn. To help reduce this number, Mater researchers are looking at new strategies for investigating the causes and prevention of stillbirth. Researchers, under the direction of Professor Vicki Flenady—who is also the lead investigator of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Stillbirth: a collaboration across six Australian universities with strong links to the perinatal clinical services and policy, and wide community research—will be using their findings to develop and implement new programs to help reduce the occurrence of stillbirth, as well as improving care and support for families who experience such a tragedy.

 

 

Thanks to the support of wonderful supporters like you, Mater's dedicated researchers and medical teams are able to work tirelessly around the clock and give so much to save and improve the lives of mothers and babies.

This vital research would not be possible without your help, so thank you.

There are many ways that you can support Mater Little Miracles and the research and care of mothers and babies. To begin a conversation about how you can be involved, please contact us today on 07 3163 8000 or email us at info@materlittlemiracles.org.au

 


*Source: Better Health Victoria 2015