Premature birth is the most common reason for a newborn baby to die. Unfortunately, current treatments for premature birth are not very effective.

We have developed a mechanism for targeting the delivery of drugs to the uterine tissue, which we believe can be used to prevent or block preterm labour. 

The targeted drug delivery system will enable us to administer drugs to women for the treatment of preterm labour, that previously were unable to be administered to women due to affects on other organs. Our approach utilises liposomes, a kind of organic nanoparticle capable of carrying a drug payload, that we have now modified in order to target the liposomes specifically to a marker expressed on the uterine tissue.

The first aim of this project therefore, is to test whether our targeted drug delivery system is capable of delaying the onset of normal labour. This would be tested by administering our targeted drug delivery system (carrying contraction-blocking therapeutic agents) to a laboratory model, and then observing whether the onset of labour is delayed.

Because our ultimate goal is to delay the onset of preterm labour in women, the second aim of this project is to establish two models of preterm labour within the HMRI Bioresources Facility. Our third aim to use these models for preterm birth to test whether our targeted drug delivery system is capable of preventing preterm labour. We have confirmed that our targeted liposomes localise to the uterine tissue in pregnant models, are currently in the process testing different therapeutic agents to delay the onset of normal labour. 

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