a Principal Investigator at the Lunenfeld, Dr. Isabella Caniggia is a
leading authority on placental development and preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is the most common complication of pregnancy, affecting
seven to 10 per cent of all pregnancies, and yet there is no cure and
the cause is unknown. This common disease can lead to blindness,
epilepsy, deafness and cerebral palsy in newborns, and to hypertension,
cardiac problems and diabetes later in life.
Dr. Caniggia and her team have made
progress in identifying genetic alterations, or biomarkers, that
predict whether pregnant women will have early- or late-onset
preeclampsia. The earlier preeclampsia is detected, the better the
chances for improved health of both mother and
Dr. Caniggia holds several patents on
potential diagnostic tools and clinical practices. Recently, Dr.
Caniggia licensed her biomarker findings to help develop a diagnostic
tool that will detect and manage preeclampsia in expectant mothers over
the next five years. Potentially, physicians will use a point-of-care
kit to detect and measure increased levels of the biomarker endoglin in
expectant mothers who are at increased risk of preeclampsia.