Uniting Global Experts: Highlights from the Borne Collaborative in Vancouver


Last month, Borne reconvened a meeting of the Borne Collaborative – our group of global preterm birth experts led by Borne Founder Prof. Mark Johnson. The role of the Collaborative is to jointly challenge and find answers to what is holding back the advancement of preterm birth research and how Borne can direct its efforts to accelerate progress so that we can work towards our aim of preventing babies from being born too soon.

This meeting coincided with the Society of Reproductive Investigation’s (SRI) 71st annual meeting in Vancouver and included the most preeminent scientists and researchers from around the world. At this full-day meeting in Vancouver, we focused on developing and advancing the outcomes from the previous meeting in Los Angeles in November 2023.

We began by exploring the latest data from Borne’s flagship BUMP project (Borne Uterine Mapping Project). BUMP was set up to strengthen the research base, make breakthroughs possible, and encourage collaboration between clinicians, scientists, and patients. The ultimate goal of BUMP is to build new biological foundations for understanding preterm birth by using state-of-the-art molecular techniques on cells and tissues in the pregnant womb. These methods can identify changes in key molecules and proteins before and during labour to decipher the mechanisms driving preterm birth and uncover potential targets for new interventions. Central to the success of this initiative is the recruitment of pregnant women who consent to donate samples throughout their pregnancy and various maternal tissues during delivery. Their genetic makeup and environmental factors will also be carefully documented, with samples collected and processed using standardised protocols and techniques. By working together, the Borne Collaborative emphasised the need for broader site expansion to ensure an adequate sample pool and expand the research scope by leveraging cutting-edge technologies that have only emerged over the last two years. These advancements promise to analyse womb tissues in unprecedented detail, providing more options to drill down into the biology of what’s happening before and during labour.

In addition to BUMP, we also considered how we would structure trials of novel therapeutics, what information we would need to provide before we could expect FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) approval, and what support existed in the NIH (National Institutes of Health) for our work. Within this framework, we explored what maternal and neonatal samples we should collect and what we could do with those samples. 

Lastly, it considered how the prevention of preterm labour might be improved with the use of the progestogen R5020 and other potential therapies, including IVIG, IL-6 and IL-1 antagonists. The Borne Collaborative is providing Borne with global leadership. Only by working together can we achieve the outcomes that will lead to an end to premature birth. Borne would like to thank all the contributors and attendees of this meeting who have made a tangible step towards succeeding in our mission.

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