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France: INSERM

Woman performing analysis using a microscope in a laboratory

Medical research on brain damage in premature infants

The AREVA Foundation supports INSERM's research on premature infants.

A specific medical context

Severely premature infants (i.e., babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy) pose a serious public health problem.

These premature births are the leading cause of cerebral palsy and an important source of cognitive disabilities as well as behavioral and psychiatric problems that are often irreversible. These illnesses affect patients throughout their lives.

State-of-the-art imaging

The UMR U676 research laboratory is the only INSERM research unit in France dedicated to the problem of cerebral illness in newborns, and premature infants in particular.

Among the research undertaken, studies focused on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to lesion formation should enable better definition of new therapeutic targets.

To help with this research, the AREVA Foundation has provided funding to purchase a calcium imaging machine, which the laboratory now uses to perform the rapid and effective screening of molecules that are potentially neuroprotective for the brains of premature newborns. This is followed by clinical testing.

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