Testing a new treatment to delay labour
There have been no new treatments to prevent premature labour in the last 50 years. ProgrAm is a promising clinical study that investigates the impact of a combined drug treatment to delay preterm labour with high risk women.
In the lab: hypothesis development
Our scientists have been studying the effects of the drug aminophyline, a cAMP agonist, in the laboratory, to understand how it regulates myometiral contractions – and thus how it may affect the onset of labour. The hypothesis is that a combination therapy – utilising the addition of the hormone progesterone – could be an efficacious new treatment to delay the onset of preterm labour.
At the point of care: the clinical study
In 2017, we took this hypothesis ‘from bench to bedside’, setting up ProgrAm – a drug tolerance trial to assess whether women are able to tolerate the combination of progesterone with aminophylline.
The trial involves recruiting 70 pregnant women who are considered ‘high risk’ for preterm labour – women who have previously lost or had a premature baby. 35 of the women receive the new combination treatment of progesterone with aminophylline, while the control group receives progesterone only. The study is well underway, with 54 of the 70 women recruited.
The results of the study are very promising, which means we can proceed to the next stage: a multicentre random controlled trial.
This takes us one step closer to transforming clinical protocol with a new application for a readily available drug and one step closer to finding the first new treatment to prevent premature birth in over 50 years.
Finding answers, transforming care
While the purpose of ProgrAm is primarily to understand the effectiveness of the new treatment, the study also contributes to capacity building and the improvement of care on the clinical front line. The Borne midwives that recruit and support women through the study offer high quality, personalised care to their patients, as well as vital support to their NHS colleagues.
Experience in research also supports midwives in their professional development, offering them training and developing scientific and transferable skills for their future careers.