The use of probiotics to reduce the incidence of sepsis in premature infants. [ 2007 - 2010 ]

Also known as: Reducing neonatal sepsis with probiotics.

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Suzanne Garland (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Susan Jacobs (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Marie Pirotta Prof Sepehr Tabrizi Dr Jacinta Tobin

Brief description Currently, premature infants are born without the normal immune defenses of infants born at the correct time because the protective factors that normally pass from the mother to the baby during the last few months of pregnancy have not had time to do so. In addition the tiny premature infants are at risk because they need the expertise of intensive care and are therefore separated from their parents and their parents' organisms which healthy term infants normally pick up from the birth canal and their parents skin. The infants commonly develop infections from organisms living on their skin surfaces or inside their lungs, stomach or bowels. The babies are living in a hospital environment which they need to survive, but they may pick up particularly unhealthy organisms (pathogens) that produce toxins, which are difficult to treat even with antibiotics. These infections are so severe that one-fifth of the babies die, even in Australia where facilities for premature infants are excellent. Two recent studies overseas have shown that giving premature babies special preparations of certain probiotic organisms decreases the chance of babie developing infections. Probiotics are organisms that have health benefits. Probiotics tighten the spaces between cells to stop bacteria getting into the body, produce substances that kill other bacteria and promote the production of immunoglobulin A by the baby's own cells. Immunoglobulin A is a substance that lines the bowel wall and protects the baby from invasion by bacteria. This study will offer this probiotic product to very premature babies in a trial to see if it produces additional benefits for our babies in Victoria. Around five hundred babies will be given the product and five hundred will be given the placebo ( a harmless inert product which will look just like the real probiotic). Currently 23% of our babies get the serious infections and this study is powerful enough to see if we can reduce the number by one third.

Funding Amount $AUD 808,733.62

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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