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Diabetes drug could increase stem cells in the womb to treat recurrent miscarriage

Published on 09/01/20 at 10:30am

A study led by the University of Warwick found that sitagliptin, a diabetes drug, could be used to treat recurrent miscarriage by targeting the lining of the womb.

Sitagliptin is the first drug of its kind to have shown it can increase stem cells in the lining of the womb, which helps increase the conditions to support pregnancy.

The study also showed the drug helps stem cells protect specilaised cells that surround the embryo from stress, which can breakdown a women’s womb lining during pregnancy.

The research was reported in the Journal EBioMedicine and the clinical trial included 38 women aged between 18 to 42, who had experienced a large number of recurrent miscarriages. They were given either an oral course of sitagliptin or a placebo for three menstrual cycles.

The results showed an average increase of 68% in stem cell count in women who took the full course of sitagliptin. Comparatively there was no significant increase in those who had received the placebo.

Professor Siobhan Quenby, from Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, said: “We have improved the environment that an embryo develops in and in doing so we hope to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy. These are very early results and the treatment now needs to be further tested in a large-scale clinical trial.”

Warwick Medial School conducted the research together with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, and was supported by the NIHR Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Research Facility. It was funded by Tommy’s National Miscarriage Research Centre.

Researchers are now aiming to carry out a larger clinical trial in the future.

Conor Kavanagh

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