Joondalup Health Campus
Part of Ramsay Health Care

News

$2.7 million funding for research into premature birth

Nov 14, 2012

Joondalup Health Campus received $2.7 million in the latest round of funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) to be used for Australia’s largest-ever premature birth prevention study.

The grants were announced by Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek, rewarding ground breaking medical research across Australia.

The $2.7 million funding will go towards the ‘Omega 3 Fats to Reduce the Incidence of Prematurity’ (ORIP) trial which examines the use of fish oil in pregnancy to reduce premature births

Led by Joondalup Health Campus Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Professor Julie Quinlivan, the project team includes researchers from the University of Adelaide and Flinders University and will involve more than 4700 women across Australia.

Professor Quinlivan said preterm birth is major world-wide problem with more than 22,000 preterm births in Australia alone every year.

“More than 50 per cent of babies born at less than 34 weeks gestational age suffer lasting development impairment. Previous work by our research team has found that fish oil supplements reduce pre-term birth by slowing the ripening process in the cervix – which is abnormally fast and early in women who experience spontaneous pre-term birth.”

“The ORIP Trial will allow us to research the effect of administering fish oil supplements to women who are between 20 and 34 weeks gestation in pregnancy, with the overall aim to dramatically reduce the number of premature births and potentially redefine world obstetric care,” said Professor Quinlivan.

The ORIP Trial will commence in January 2013 and operate across Australia for four years. Pregnant women at Joondalup Health Campus will be invited to participate at their pregnancy booking visit.