At MELISA Institute, our job is to care for mothers and their unborn children. We believe that early interventions, whether as diagnosis or therapy, allow for a healthy pregnancy with the least possible risk to the mother. We have a line of ultra-early pregnancy diagnosis, based on protein and genetic biomarkers. We are also implementing the recovery of trophoblasts of the cervix.
In this area we are also developing, together with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Unit of the Hospital Austral in Buenos Aires, a study to use EGCG in third-trimester pregnant women with children with Down’s syndrome, to improve some aspects of neurodevelopment.
Pride 21 Study: Prenatal intervention for Neurodevelopment in Trisomy 21
Down syndrome (DS) is a chromosomal abnormality caused by the presence of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is the most common chromosomal disease in live births and is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability.
The disease is not only explained by the over-expression of genes on chromosome 21, but is being understood as a global problem in the cell’s gene expression. Among these genes is DYRK 1A, which encodes a protein involved in multiple processes related to brain development and formation. Despite this, there is ample evidence to show that overexpression of part of chromosome 21 can produce the phenotype of DS.
EGCG, the most important catechin in green tea, is a widely studied molecule with an inhibitor action on DYRK1A, which has shown beneficial effects in cellular and murine models and in humans suffering from DS. EGCG has an adequate safety profile, without teratogenic effects and with an adequate distribution in placental and fetal tissues.
Our team, in conjunction with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine unit of the Hospital Austral in Buenos Aires, is developing a protocol to use Previfenon® during the third trimester of pregnancy to obtain improvements in the development of the nervous system and in the intellectual and behavioral capacity of these children. This work has been encouraged by the use of EGCG in pregnant women during the third trimester, in cases of Gestational Diabetes and Preeclampsia, without deleterious effects on mothers or their unborn children.
Trophoblast retrieval and isolation from the cervix (TRIC)
Most pregnancy problems start in the first trimester of the period. The weight of the baby, the development of blood pressure diseases has their origin in the processes of placentation. In addition, genetic diagnosis is done with expensive tests and, in some cases, invasive techniques.
At MELISA Institute we look for a way to learn about pregnancy from the early stages, without risking the life of the mother and her child.
One of our lines of research seeks to obtain trophoblastic cells (cells that form the placenta), from the cervix. The same way we take a PAP (that is a test to assess a possible cancer of the cervix).
This sample can be taken from the first weeks of pregnancy, without any risk to the mother or her unborn child.
This information obtained in vivo, without placing the embryo at risk, could allow us to diagnose early alterations that could alter the outcome of the pregnancy, especially those related to early placental development (cause of preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction), as well as those related to immunological alterations (recurrent miscarriage).
At MELISA we understand the embryo and the mother as our patients. We seek to protect your care from very first day.