Centre for perinatal research opens in Cork

Discoveries will help reduce risks for mother and child

Ireland’s first centre for perinatal research into complications for pregnant women and newborn babies has opened at Cork University Hospital. The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (Infant) has received €13.6 million in funding from the State and industry.

Ireland’s first centre for perinatal research into complications for pregnant women and newborn babies has opened at Cork University Hospital. The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (Infant) has received €13.6 million in funding from the State and industry.

Sat, Sep 21, 2013, 01:01


Ireland’s first centre for perinatal research into complications for pregnant women and newborn babies has opened at Cork University Hospital. The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (Infant) has received €13.6 million in funding from the State and industry.

The directors and cofounders of Infant, Professors Louise Kenny and Geraldine Boylan have conducted research this area for 10 years. They aim to establish the centre as a world leader in neonatal screening, diagnostic and perinatal care.

Prof Boylan said this has been an underfunded area. “The seven- inch journey in the birth canal is one of the most dangerous,” she said. Screening can help doctors to intervene early to prevent injuries, such as those caused by oxygen deprivation, and by predicting which mothers and babies are going to experience complications, the outcome can be substantially improved, she said.

Researchers at Infant have already identified a number of biomarkers that can be used in early detection. Prof Kenny said that the first clinical trials at the centre will start next month, screening for pre-eclampsia in early pregnancy. This is the first test of its kind in the world and the research will be commercialised within two or three years, she said. The centre already hosts a number of clinical trials for medical devices.

Infant is one of seven research centres being established that are co-funded by the State in partnership with industry.