Innovative Medicines Canada recently gave a generous gift in support of the CHRI Scientist Innovation Grant Program. This gift will help fund significant research awards for CHRI Scientists and Associate Scientists.
The Scientist Innovation Grant Program was established in 2019 with a focus on supporting innovative and original translational research projects. A panel of judges rigorously reviews entries, looking for those with the highest potential of yielding significant improvements in the diagnosis and care of childhood diseases.
Dr. Emma Duerden and her team recently won the award for their project to address fetal growth restriction (FGR).
Over 30,000 babies are born each year in Canada with low birthweight or FGR. FGR is concerning because it is associated with reduced oxygen delivery to the fetal brain, resulting in poor brain development, which can lead to cerebral palsy or impaired cognition.
Dr. Emma Duerden and her team hypothesize that a mother’s heart health, including total cardiac output and arterial stiffness, are important predictors of growth restriction and outcomes in babies.
They propose to study 30 pregnant mothers with growth restricted fetuses and 30 pregnant mothers with normally grown fetuses to test their hypothesis. Infants will return for a follow-up neurodevelopmental assessment at 12-18 months.
Through the long-term follow-up of the infants, the team will be able to link maternal cardiovascular measures with placental oxygenation and fetal brain development.
Ultimately, the team hopes to be able to better predict which babies are at risk for FGR and develop evidence-based interventions to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes in these babies.
CHRI thanks Innovative Medicines Canada for this generous gift, which will help the most vulnerable babies and children achieve the best possible health outcomes.