A research team based out of UBC is investigating whether sildenafil could be an effective treatment for early intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). The STRIDER (sildenafil therapy in dismal prognosis early-onset intrauterine growth restriction) trial was approved by Health Canada, and the team is coordinating efforts to recruit participants from across Canada.
There are many reasons why a baby may not grow in the womb, but in some cases, it is because the placenta is not able to supply enough nutrition to the baby and the baby slows down its growth to match the supply. In these cases, the risk of stillbirth increases. If the problem starts early in the pregnancy and the deprivation is severe enough, the choice is to either leave the baby in the womb and risk stillbirth or intervene and deliver the baby early, sometimes before 27 weeks.
There are no proven treatments for early IUGR. Because sildenafil improves blood flow outside pregnancy, researchers suspect that it could improve blood flow, and thereby nutrition, to the baby in pregnancy. If using sildenafil means that the baby can stay in the womb for longer, it can greatly increase survival and improve outcomes.
A number of small studies have already been completed, with promising results. Growth of the babies has appeared to improve, and no harms were identified, although the number of babies studied was small. Other supportive research studies have been published by other groups.
To participate in the trial
Researchers are recruiting participants from across Canada for the STRIDER trial. They ask women or their doctors to contact them if they would like more information about participating in the trial at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The research team is co-led by Dr Kenneth Lim, division head for the maternal-fetal medicine program at UBC and BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, and Professor Peter von Dadelszen, academic head of obstetrics and gynecology at St. George’s, University of London, UK, who designed the trial. The research team includes Dr Laura Magee, professor of maternal medicine at St. George’s, University of London, and Dr Sayrin Lalji, clinical associate professor of maternal fetal medicine at UBC and BC Women’s.
The STRIDER trial has received funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
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