Early Biomarker for Preeclampsia Discovered

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy condition feared by many expecting women. This condition usually manifests at 20 to 37 weeks into pregnancy and affects about 5 to 7% pregnancies in the US alone. The said condition claims over 100,000 lives of women across the globe every year.

While preeclampsia ranges from being mild to severe, it is life threatening when it manifests early in the pregnancy and progresses just as fast. Until recently, there are still no medical means on how to predict the development of preeclampsia as well as preventing it from occurring. Sadly, the most effective way, as of now, of protecting both from the ill effects of the condition is to deliver the baby. This often results in preterm birth.

Fortunately, a team of researchers has discovered recently a means to predict a preeclamptic pregnancy at an earlier time. They found out that the levels of maternal plasma copeptin, an inert and stable biomarker for the hormone vasopressin, is higher in preeclamptic pregnancies. Their analysis reveals that the said substance significantly predicts the development of preeclampsia in pregnancies.

The team believes that their findings will have a great impact in the medical world especially in obstetric care. The earlier preeclampsia is diagnosed, the higher the medical care the doctors can give their pregnant patients. This means a higher chance of survival and success throughout the pregnancy and birthing processes. Early detection of preeclampsia will also make the pregnant women affected by the condition to be more aware about it. They can also get the needed medical attention before their condition takes on a more severe turn.
Currently, the group is investigating if the copeptin levels found in preeclamptic pregnancies also show in urine. If it is, then, a simple home test kit can be developed for early preeclampsia prediction.

As the study also points out that the hormone vasopressin can cause symptoms of preeclampsia to develop, the medical world has now a lead in its search for a therapeutic cure for the condition. According to one team member, it is only a matter of time before a cure or a preventive measure against preeclampsia is discovered, too.