- Through a clinical trial, we are assessing the efficacy of combining cAMP agonist, aminophylline, with progesterone as a treatment to delay the onset of preterm labour.
- We are exploring the role of intra-cellular messenger, cAMP, in regulating myometrial contractions and relaxation.
- We are working to understand why inflammation occurs in twin and unexplained preterm labour.
- We will repeat our laboratory studies on a second cAMP agonist to establish its ability to repress myometrial inflammation, pro-labour gene expression and contractions.
- The study of progesterone: we will reproduce our cell-based work at the human tissue level and through in-vivo modelling to see if the variations in progesterone’s therapeutic effects can be explained by variations in the cAMP effector pathway. One of the key objectives is to perform a randomised study of the use of mifepristone, a progesterone antagonist, for the onset of labour. Observing the effects of blocking the effects of progesterone will help us to understand how progesterone acts.
- Clock gene activity: our initial findings suggest that circadian rhythms may be able to modulate the time of onset of labour. If our current work confirms these findings, then the key question is what are the mechanisms, as these may be of therapeutic importance.
- Protein post translational modifications: PTMs have the potential to prime the myometrium for contractile activation and consequently to be therapeutic targets. We will study phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitination and sumoylation in the myometrium to define whether PTMs play a role in myometrial activation / suppression and the mechanisms involved.