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Research Funding Available to Inspire New Hypotheses in Preeclampsia

Last Updated on Wednesday, February 09, 2011

San Francisco, CA – February 10, 2011 – The Preeclampsia Foundation announced today that applications are now being accepted for its 2011 Vision Grant award program. This year, up to two medical research grants will be awarded, totaling up to $25,000 each. Vision Grants are intended to provide initial funding for innovative ideas focused on the pathophysiology, diagnosis or treatment of preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy that might otherwise not be pursued due to lack of funding. All novel, well-considered research topics are encouraged. International applicants will be accepted, but applications must be in English.

This year the Foundation is also inviting applications for the new Health Services Grant, a separate award of up to $25,000 focused on the application of health services research to the field of preeclampsia.  This research funding is designed to inspire investigators to focus specifically on health delivery strategies that can improve the care of women (and their babies) with hypertensive diseases of pregnancy. Such research may include studies devoted to enhancement of health care distribution, patient education, patient safety, and guideline development and/or utilization. All such studies may include a focus on health care disparities, as well.

The application deadline is May 16, 2011, with awards announced August 12, 2011.  More information and application instructions can be found at http://www.preeclampsia.org/research. Since its inception, the Foundation’s research program has invested $350,000, including this newly announced funding, in novel research ranging from molecular biology and immunology, to potential therapies, to the relationship of sleep-disordered breathing on preeclampsia. Grant awardees have been associated with a broad spectrum of medical schools including Yale University, Northwestern University, University of Washington, and Magee Womens Research Institute.

Each year, dozens of robust applications are received from around the world, from as far as India and Australia to nearby Canada and the United States. Research initiated by the Vision Grant program has resulted in advanced studies with more significant funding from the National Institutes of Health, presentations at scientific conferences, and has inspired scientific careers in preeclampsia.

“I’m impressed by the breadth and quality of applications we receive,” remarked Dr. Thomas Easterling, Director of the Preeclampsia Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board. “It just goes to show how important this issue is and how scarce traditional sources of research funding are.”

About the Vision Grant Award Program:  According to the World Health Organization, preeclampsia is one of the least funded areas of research, especially when considered against Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). The Preeclampsia Foundation’s Vision Grants fund medical research pertaining to the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

About Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period, and affects both the mother and the fetus. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine; other symptoms may include swelling in the hands and face, headaches, and visual disturbances. Preeclampsia affects the mother's kidneys, liver and other vital organs and, if undetected or untreated, can lead to seizures (eclampsia), cerebral hemorrhage, failure in vital organs and death. The cause of preeclampsia is still not fully understood, and the only cure for the condition begins with delivery. Approximately five to eight percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, which, in the United States, translates to approximately 300,000 pregnancies. It is a leading cause of preterm birth, and is responsible for approximately 76,000 maternal deaths and half a million infant deaths worldwide annually. There are several types of preeclampsia, including HELLP syndrome, a particularly dangerous variant.

About the Preeclampsia Foundation: The Preeclampsia Foundation is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2000. It is dedicated to providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving health care practices, envisioning a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies. For more information, visit www.preeclampsia.org.

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