How does the immune system affect the chance of miscarriage?

Tommy’s researchers want to find out more about the role of the immune system in women who have recurrent miscarriages, and see if immune testing can help us stop them.
  • Author's list

    David Lissauer, Mark Drayson, Mark Kilby, Paul Moss, Hoda Harb, Aurelio Tobias, Arri Coomarasamy

Start: 2017

End: 2021

Why do we need this research?

During pregnancy, the immune system changes, helping to protect the baby growing in the womb. Recurrent miscarriages – 3 or more in a row – have been linked to problems with the way that the immune system adapts.

While there are immune system tests available which claim to help predict the chance of further miscarriages, we don’t know enough about them to be certain that they are useful. We need to learn more about how the immune system is involved in miscarriage, so that we can provide women with the most appropriate tests to give them the answers they need. Knowing how the immune system is involved could also help us prevent miscarriages in the future.

What’s happening in this project?

Scientists funded by Tommy’s are setting up a study with women who have experienced two or more unexplained miscarriages. The team will look at immune cells and substances in blood samples donated by the women to understand how the immune system is working. The team will also recruit women who have not had a miscarriage, to compare how their immune system works.

Our scientists will combine the information from these immune system tests with that from the Tommy’s Net database. This will help them to develop new methods to predict if a woman is likely to miscarry, based on many different factors.

What difference will this project make?

In this project, our researchers will help us to better understand the role of the immune system in recurrent miscarriage. This could help scientists to develop new tests and give women who have suffered multiple miscarriages the answers they need about why it happened. Understanding the immune system better could also potentially lead to new treatments to prevent further miscarriages in the future.

Thanks for your interest in our research

Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. We can keep you updated on ways you can support our work. If you would like to join our fight against baby loss and premature birth, click here.