June APEC Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the July edition of our newsletter from Action on Pre-eclampsia. We hope this hot weather is treating you all well.
This month is a focus on Education and Research:
  • Walker-Redman Scholarship - how to apply.
  • Our London Midwifery study day on September 27th - don't miss out!
  • Research News 
  • Get involved in research (PPI)
  • Staff news
  • Research Post vacancy
Research Award Opportunities
Are you a post-doctoral student in the United Kingdom?
Are you interested in travelling to further your research and understanding of Pre-eclampsia?

ould a scholarship from APEC help You?
 Action on Pre-eclampsia is the leading UK charity supporting families and researchers in trying to understand this condition.  We support hundreds of families each year and make a significant contribution towards patient involvement in research.
We want to support your research and will make two awards of £500 each year to help fund travel to improve your knowledge and understanding of pre-eclampsia.
It will be an easy to enter but hard to win scholarship programme, with the aim that this will get students over the financial finish line and make life a little easier, not that it should fund every part of their plans.
The awarding committee will be looking at the realistic nature of the proposals, the deliverability, what support they have and the possibility of putting something new and original into the jigsaw of how we solve pre-eclampsia.
The rules of the scholarship are simple
  1. Be engaged in research in the UK into an aspect of pre-eclampsia
  2. Have a research project which will be enhanced by overseas travel
  3. Be prepared to report back to the Annual APEC Experts Meeting
  4. Be able to deliver your project by May 2018
July 2017 – Launch of Submissions
1st September 2017 – Closure
30th September – Funding announced
May 2018 – APEC Study day – student report back
May 2018 – launch of next round

Request an application pack

APEC upcoming study days for midwives and all involved in the care of pregnant women

London: 27th September 2017

We expect this to be oversubscribed, so advise booking early to avoid disappointment

Confirmed speakers include:

Professor Andrew Shennan 
Professor Cathy Nelson-Piercy 
Dr David Williams.
Dr Anita Banerjee

Jenny Chambers (ICP Support)
Alexandra da Costa (talking about her terrifying experience of pre-eclampsia)
We have not increased our prices, and the day represents excellent value at £50 for student midwives and £100 for everyone else. For more information and to book your place, visit our website here:
Book your place now
Research News
Baby's DNA affects mother's risk of
pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, study finds

A major international study has revealed for the first time how a baby’s DNA can increase the risk its mother will develop pre-eclampsia – a potentially lethal condition for both mother and child.
The five year investigation - which involved a team from the University of Leeds - raises the possibility that scientists will be able to develop better ways of predicting women at risk of the condition.
Professor James Walker, from the Leeds Institute of Biological and Clinical Sciences, lead obstetrician in the study, and APEC Trustee said:  
“We have suspected for some time that there is a genetic link with pre-eclampsia but until now we have not been able to understand how that link might work.
“This research is revolutionising our understanding of a common and serious complication of pregnancy.”

Serious complications
Pre-eclampsia affects around one in 20 pregnancies and is first suspected when a woman is found to have high blood pressure, usually in the second half of pregnancy. The condition can cause serious complications including fits, stroke, liver and blood problems and in extreme cases, the death of mother and baby. 
The condition is caused by faulty formation of the placenta, the organ that forms in the woman’s uterus and provides oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby.
It is the baby’s DNA that controls the way the placenta develops, so researchers looked for possible clues that genetic factors play a role in pre-eclampsia.
The study, published in Nature Genetics, involved comparing the genetic make up of 4,380 babies whose mothers had pre-eclampsia with the DNA of more than 300,000 healthy babies.

High levels of protein
The investigators found variations close to a gene that makes a protein called sFlt-1. When high-levels of that protein are produced and leave the placenta and enter the mother’s bloodstream, she is at risk of developing high blood pressure, damage to kidneys, liver and brain – which are all features of pre-eclampsia.
The investigators conclude that these genetic variants put the mother at an increased chance of developing pre-eclampsia.
Detailed analysis of the DNA was conducted at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK and deCODE Genetics  in Iceland.
Dr Ralph McGinnis, who led the analysis at the Sanger Institute, said: “Pre-eclampsia has been recognized since ancient Egypt and Greece as being a danger to the lives of mothers and babies.  This first piece of the genetic jigsaw holds substantial promise for unlocking some of the mystery of how pre-eclampsia is caused
Our finding may also enable better prediction of mothers who will become pre-eclamptic when combined with clinical information and with other pieces of the genetic jigsaw that will also surely be discovered in the next few years.”
The investigators acknowledge that although genetic variations increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, it is not the whole story.
The DNA changes associated with pre-eclampsia are common – over 50% of people carry this sequence in their DNA so the inherited changes are not sufficient in themselves to cause the disease. There are other, as yet undetermined, factors at work.
DNA from a further 4,220 babies from pre-eclamptic pregnancies have been collected in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in a project developed and coordinated by Professor Walker and his team - Dr Nigel Simpson and Ms Viv Dolby - and these are currently being analysed in an extended study to see if the same variations occur near sFlt-1.
The research was funded by a six million Euro grant from the European Commission.

Vacancy - Pregnancy Healthcare Researcher
Oxford University

Oxford University are looking for a Researcher in Pregnancy Health Care at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, based in Oxford. The post would be working alongside Prof Richard McManus, Dr Kath Tucker and Prof Lucy Chappell.
Please click below for more information and to apply.
Oxford University Research Vacancy - inormation
Application pack - Research vacancy
Staff News
Marcus Green has agreed a permanent post as CEO with APEC

The staff and trustees are delighted to let you know Marcus has accepted the offer to stay on as permanent CEO of APEC.
He has already taken the charity from strength to strength with many ideas and plans in the pipeline. We are very happy he will not be going anywhere anytime soon!

Patient Research Involvement
Would you like to get involved in Research Projects by becoming a PPI (Patient Participation /Involvement) Representative for APEC?

We are looking for volunteers to become PPI reps to help facilitate long term research projects.
We would need you to commit to quarterly meetings over two years in London.

It would initially involve a 1/2 day training in London and travel expenses will be paid. 

For more information please email Carol at 

Contact Address:

80B The Stables, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2PA
Tel 01386 761848

Action on Pre-eclampsia is a UK registered charity. Charity number: 1013557 

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