Premature birth remains a huge clinical challenge, often resulting in lifelong consequences for both children and mothers. Even in developed nations, preterm birth is the most common cause of mortality for children under five years of age. In many cases, spontaneous onset of labor occurs and it is challenging to prevent this using current methods such as medications, surgery, or hormones.
A company called PregnanTech out of Misgav, Israel has now designed an implantable device that reduces the load on the cervix, keeps the cervix elongated despite contractions, and thereby delays the biomechanical cascade and prevents the breakup of the collagen network that leads to spontaneous birth. The LIONESS, as it’s called, is currently being tested in a clinical safety trial in women who are about to undergo hysterectomies. Next year the company plans to have its device trialed at King’s College Hospital, London, in pregnant women at high risk of preterm birth
The LIONESS is placed via the vagina in a minimally invasive procedure using an accompanying delivery system. It should take only a few minutes to complete the procedure and the woman will be able to go home right away.
“From my experience as a gynecologist, I know very well the extent of the phenomenon and the suffering it entails for newborns and families. Each extra week in the womb is critical for fetal development, and just one additional week can be the difference between a baby growing up healthy and a baby suffering from a variety of problems during its life,” said Dr. David Shashar (MD, Ob/Gyn, MBA, BME), the CEO of PregnanTech. “Between 9% and 17% of all pregnancies are at risk of premature birth. This is a large target market. There are no successful solutions today and the health systems are desperate for it. Leading doctors in Israel and around the world see our product as a breakthrough.”
Here’s a video explaining the PregnanTech solution:
Link: PregnanTech homepage…
Via: PregnanTech’s announcement (PDF)