The WAPB has been established to facilitate research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy complications, with an emphasis on preterm birth prevention. The WAPB will be used to address a variety of research questions, including:
  • The relationship between genetic markers and other biological markers of PTB and other pregnancy complications;
  • The effects of existing PTB treatment and prevention strategies on vaginal health and pregnancy outcome;
  • The significance of the maternal and fetal microbiome in determining pregnancy outcome;
  • The determination of risk of PTB and other pregnancy complications through measurement of mRNA/microRNAs and other novel biomarkers in blood, amniotic fluid and vaginal fluid;
  • The prediction of treatment failure in women at high risk of PTB;
  • The incidence of pathogenic bacteria in the reproductive tract, their response to antibiotics and the consequence of this to PTB risk;
  • The use of maternal serology to identify women at high risk of PTB;
  • The influence of diet and lifestyle factors on PTB risk.
All of these research outcomes can potentially be translated to changes in clinical practise leading to improved health for women and their babies in Australia and around the world.
The GAPPS Repository is a network of collection sites formulated to provide researchers with specimens from wide-ranging, diverse populations. It is the largest ever standardized collection of prenatal specimens linked to data. The WAPB has been developed to harmonize (where possible) with the GAPPS programme to facilitate uniformity between repositories and closely follow the GAPPS standard operating procedures (SOPs). This will ensure samples are collected, processed, stored and catalogued according to best international practice. Where modifications in collection protocols and questionnaires are required to fit in with local conditions and requirements, these have been minimized to remain consistent with the majority of the GAPPS SOPs.