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Preterm Birth Biomarker Project

The Preterm Birth Biomarker Project (PBP) was initiated by PREBIC 2008. This working group aims to achieve the objectives;

1. To assess  biomarkers that have been previously identified as useful in  understanding the mechanistic pathways of spontaneous preterm labor in humans, and those thought to be useful for predicting preterm labor  risk


2. To assess the quality and reliability of studies on spontaneous PTB biomarkers


3. Propose guidelines for future studies in this important area of reproductive health research, based on a panoramic perspective of what has been done in the last four decades


In phase one of this project, a systematic review of literature published on maternal biomarkers of spontaneous preterm birth with intact membranes was performed. The PBP Biomarkers team reviewed literature published between 1965 – 2008. The systematic review report was published in the journal of Reproductive Science in 2011.

 The key findings:

• 218 reports were included in a systematic review that covered 9056 abstracts from which 1216 were chosen for full article review


• 126 biomarkers have been reported in spontaneous preterm by 562 different studies


• The majority of the markers studied are inflammatory markers


• 65 studies have reported IL-6 followed by IL-8 and CRH (33 studies each)


• ~50% of the studies are done in North America of which the United States contributed almost 47%


• No studies from Africa, South Asia or Middle East, were PTB rates are the highest, were included


• Many studies provided information regarding the role of a biomarker in the mechanistic aspect and pathophysiologic pathways of preterm or term pregnancy


• Huge disparity in many fundamental aspects of published reports creates heterogeneity making it difficult to combine these studies for a meta-analysis to assess their risk association


• No Reliable Biomarkers that will Identify High Risk Pregnancies for Preterm Labor were Identified


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