"Sensitivity and Specificity of Placental Proteins for Gestational Age Screening: An Exploratory Study" was published in the May 2020 issue of the journal Contraception.
Assistant Professor of Statistics Mark Weaver collaborated with Dr. Beth Raymond from Gynuity Health Projects in New York City and other researchers to conduct a study to explore the possibility of using pregnancy-associated proteins to predict the gestational age of a pregnancy. The primary paper from this study was published in the May 2020 issue of the journal Contraception. Additional collaborators were from Gynuity Health Projects, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
In their article, “Sensitivity and Specificity of Placental Proteins for Gestational Age Screening”, the authors describe the results of a study in which they enrolled 245 pregnant women between about 6 and 40 weeks gestational age. Serum and urine specimens were obtained from each woman. The specimens were assayed for the presence of seven pregnancy-related proteins. Statistical analyses using receiver operating characteristic curves were then conducted to evaluate whether any of the proteins could be used to reliably detect whether a pregnancy was at least 70 days gestational age.
The authors identified two proteins in serum, pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 12 (ADAM-12), that worked remarkably well for detecting pregnancies that were at least 70 days gestational age. The authors focused on 70 days gestational age in this research because that is the current limit in the United States for using the drug mifepristone for medical termination of pregnancy. Identifying a reliable protein marker for gestational age may be particularly important for contexts in which ultrasound is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive. This study represents an important link in a series of studies being conducted by these researchers that are designed to increase safe access to medical abortion for women who choose to end their pregnancies within the first 10 weeks.
Weaver’s work on this project was supported by a consulting agreement with Gynuity Health Projects.