Research scientists win prize


A scientist from Cambridge University has received an international prize for his research into two of the most common complications of pregnancy - miscarriage and pre-eclampsia.

Dr Graham Burton from the department of anatomy and collaborator Dr Eric Jauniaux, from the Royal Free Hospital and University College London, were jointly honoured by Fonds National de la Recherche, the Belgian equivalent of the Medical Research Council.

It's believed their work will open new avenues for potential treatments.

They received the prize for their study into the role of placental oxygenation and generation of free radicals in the development of miscarriages and pre-eclampsia.

Oxygen is vital for the developing baby later in pregnancy, but too much oxygen in the early weeks may harm the embryo or even result in miscarriage.

Their research focused on determining precisely when the maternal circulation to the placenta becomes fully established and its effect on the developing foetus.

Dr Burton and Dr Jauniaux received their prize last week in Belgium.

'It is a great honour to receive this prize in recognition of our work over the years,' said Dr Burton.

'Miscarriage is a very common and distressing condition. Our research sheds new light on the underlying mechanisms and by understanding these we hope to alleviate suffering in the future.

'Meanwhile the best advice for pregnant women is that they should have a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to ensure a supply of essential vitamins during pregnancy,' he said.

By Stuart Leithes


The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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