202205 Advancing Methods for Safe, Noninvasive, Real Time Assessment of Placenta Development and Function Across Pregnancy

​Program seeks council approval for an initiative titled “Advancing Methods for Safe, Noninvasive, Real Time Assessment of Placenta Development and Function Across Pregnancy.”

Despite intensive research into early risk assessment during pregnancy, there is still a critical lack of effective tools and methods for safe, noninvasive, real time assessment of placenta development and function across the pregnancy time course.

The NICHD launched the Human Placenta Project in 2014 to address this critical gap. NICHD has made nearly 40 awards and invested over $87M. There has been progress across multiple fronts: MRI, Ultrasound, Extracellular Vesicle Analysis, and an array of omics approaches.  However, making the jump from potential new approaches to clinical implementation requires additional clinical studies to provide confirmation and validation.  In addition, by necessity the HPP awards represented individual efforts, and most likely an integrated approach will have the greatest clinical potential. 

This initiative is intended to specifically call for studies aimed at clinical validation and encourage multimodal approaches and is the requisite next step in the progression of these approaches towards clinical acceptance. It is noted that the HPP has stimulated research globally and there have been advances in centers around the world.  This initiative would be open to all investigators, foreign or domestic.

This initiative is in direct alignment with NICHD’s Theme 3 Setting the Foundation for Healthy Pregnancies, and cross cutting themes 1, 3 and 5 related to pre-pregnancy health, prevention of adverse outcomes, early detection, and the impact of infectious pathogens on pregnant women.  The Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch has the placenta as a major priority and specifically calls out the goal of “Implementing markers and imaging techniques developed in the Human Placenta Project”. These approaches would also be relevant to our understanding of the impact of infectious diseases and their treatment (ART therapy, COVID-19 infection, etc.) and so is also relevant to MPIDB’s mission.

Program Contact

David Weinberg
Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch (PPB)


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