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The Human Placenta Project
|Dr. Diana Bianchi on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Diana Bianchi, M.D.; Executive Director, Mother Infant Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center.”
Dr. Diana Bianchi: The placenta is really the Rodney Dangerfield of organs. It just doesn’t get respect. It gets thrown out at the end of the pregnancy. I mean, when you think about it, what other organ does its job effectively, grows when it’s supposed to grow, provides the nutrients it’s supposed to provide, and yet it knows when its job is over?
Text appears on the screen that reads: The National Institutes of Health has launched an ambitious effort to study the placenta during pregnancy, with the goal of ultimately improving the lifelong health of women and children.
|Dr. Alan Guttmacher on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Alan Guttmacher, M.D.; Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.”
Dr. Alan Guttmacher: The Human Placenta Project is a coordinated effort to really work in a collaborative way…
|Illustration of fetus with umbilical cord attached to a placenta and text appears on top of the placenta that reads: Human Placenta Project||Dr. Guttmacher: …to better understand the placenta, its structure, its function, its development over the pregnancy,…|
|Dr. Guttmacher on camera in outdoor setting.||Dr. Guttmacher: …in a way that will really advance both our fundamental understanding of the placenta and how it functions, but also allow us to apply that knowledge in a way that improves health.|
|Dr. Yoel Sadovsky on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Yoel Sadovsky, M.D.; Scientific Director, Magee-Womens Research Institute.”
|Dr. Yoel Sadovsky: The placenta serves as the lung, the kidneys, the liver, the endocrine system—produces hormones—and is essential for immune defense of the baby…|
|Animated illustration of fetus inside the womb with umbilical cord attached to the placenta.||Dr. Sadovsky: …And this all happens at the most critical time of embryonic development.|
|Dr. Graham Burton on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Graham Burton, M.D., D.Sc., F.Med.Sci.; Director, Centre for Trophoblast Research, University of Cambridge.”
|Dr. Graham Burton: I understand people are more concerned about the baby than the placenta. But for us researchers, the placenta is of key importance; it’s the platform for life.|
|A medical exam room setting with a pregnant woman propped up on exam table with her belly showing and talking to a female health professional holding a chart and pen.||Dr. Burton: I think most people would be surprised to realize the lasting impact…|
|Dr. Burton on camera in outdoor setting.||Dr. Burton: …that the placenta has on an individual’s health.|
|Dr. S. Ananth Karumanchi on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “S. Ananth Karumanchi, M.D.; Director, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.”
|Dr. S. Ananth Karumanchi: The placenta provides so much information, not just for pregnancy, but also for beyond pregnancy, for mom’s health as well as for the infant’s health.|
|Dr. Cathy Spong on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Cathy Spong, M.D.; Deputy Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.”
|Dr. Spong: I’m excited about the Human Placenta Project because we’re finally focusing attention to the placenta. As a clinician, I see many times where pregnancy outcomes go poorly, and the placenta hasn’t formed well…|
|Woman health professional performing an ultrasound on an exposed pregnant belly.||Dr. Spong: …and yet I don’t have a lot of tools to help understand why that happened. And certainly I have limited…|
|Ultrasound imaging where you can see the fetus.||Dr. Spong: …ability to really monitor the development of that placenta, or to optimize placental outcomes so I can optimize pregnancy outcome.|
|Dr. Spong on camera in outdoor setting.||Dr. Spong: By focusing our attention on the placenta and getting those tools, we’ll be able to improve pregnancy outcome, improve the health of that child, hopefully improve the health of the world.|
|Dr. Guttmacher on camera in outdoor setting.||Dr. Guttmacher: We’re hoping the Human Placenta Project will involve a large cohort of researchers, both researchers who’ve spent already years if not decades thinking about the placenta,…|
|Conference room setting with three woman and two men having a discussion.||Dr. Guttmacher: …but also some researchers who never thought about the placenta before but might have real contributions to…|
|Dr. Guttmacher on camera in outdoor setting||Dr. Guttmacher: …make if they only began to apply their kinds of tools and approaches to thinking about the placenta.|
|Dr. Elizabeth Hillman on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Elizabeth Hillman, Ph.D.; Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology, Columbia University.”
|Dr. Elizabeth Hillman: As a physicist and an engineer, I like to look at biological systems as machines and try to sort of deconstruct them and understand exactly how they work. On a more personal note, I’m a mom—I have two little boys. And having gone through labor and delivery, having built two placentas myself in the last four years, I’ve just become really fascinated with that whole process.|
|Dr. Peter Basser on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Peter Basser, Ph.D.; Senior Investigator and Director, Program on Pediatric Imaging and Tissues Sciences, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.”
|Dr. Peter Basser: Having three children of my own, I know the process. And learning more about it scientifically only makes me appreciate it more: the mystery of it, the miracle of it, and the science of it.|
|Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson on camera in outdoor setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: “Joe Leigh Simpson, MD; Senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs, March of Dimes.”
|Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson: This research effort is pivotal if we’re going to have the most healthy babies that we can have.|
|Dr. Guttmacher on camera in outdoor setting.||Dr. Guttmacher: My hope for the Human Placenta Project, is that years from now, we’ve enabled knowledge of the placenta in a way that truly changes the way we think about pregnancy and truly changes the way we’re able to intervene in pregnancy, to make…|
|Video fades to a woman holding a baby boy. She is smiling and talking to him while gently patting his head and back.||Dr. Guttmacher: …a difference in terms of the health both the mother and the fetus—not just during pregnancy, but during the rest of their lives.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services logo, National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo.
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