from the June 2008 issue

Israeli Start Up breakthrough for early detection of High Risk pregnancy

A new development of the Israeli Start Up from Yokneam, Diagfnostic Technologies (DTL) is an innovation in early identification of high risk pregnancies, could reduces the morbidity and mortality of women and of the fetus. Pre-eclampsia, also known as toxemia of pregnancy appears in 3% of pregnant women in Israel (approximately 6% worldwide) and is characterized by a sudden hypertension and an elevated protein level in urine among pregnant women that can be exacerbated to secondary damage to additional organs such as the kidney, the liver, the eyes, blood clotting and most severely in the brain where it causes convulsion and can lead to stroke.

The disease endangers the life of the fetus and can cause irreversible damage and even fetal loss and death. The scientists at Dioagnostic Technologies developed a new method to identify which of the pregnant women is at elevated risk to develop the disorder. The early detection is performed approximately 20 weeks before the development of the symptoms and is base don the use of a simple blood test. The blood test determines the level of a special protein produced by the placenta that is known as PP13 (placenta protein 13). The test is performed from the 7th week of pregnancy, and can predict the later development of preeclampsia 6 months down the road. The test results gives the physician a useful tool to evaluate the surveillance and management of the pregnant women and even assess if she can benefit from the use of low dose aspirin. Until now there was no other method to identify women at risk for developing preeclampsia before the disease manifests and puts the life of the mother and the fetus at risk.

Dr. Hamutal Meiri, a PhD in developmental neurobiology and the CEO of Diagnostic Technologies said: "Preeclampsia is the second most frequent cause of maternal death in pregnancy, but to our disappointment the dimension of the problem is not known to the public and many women, pregnant or not, are unaware of the real risk. In Israel we are speaking about approximately 5000 women annually who suffer from various forms of severity of preeclampsia. Due to the new test these women could benefit from the early detection which gives rise to prevention and management of the risk due to a better pregnancy management and preventive treatment".

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report June 2008

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