Rebecca Spencer studied medicine at Leeds University in the north of England. In 2011, after completing her exam she became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist and was honored to receive a gold medal. Currently she works as a Clinical Research Fellow and PhD student at University College London.
Her job as a Clinical Research Fellow is to help set up a phase I/IIa trial of maternal growth factor gene therapy for severe early onset placental insufficiency. As part of her PhD she is looking at ultrasound measurements and blood samples taken from pregnant women to find better ways of predicting which pregnancies will end in stillbirth, which will need very preterm delivery, and which babies are small but will continue to grow.
Dr. Spencer takes part in the EVERREST Clinical Trial funded by the European Commission and aims to develop a treatment which will increase fetal growth in severe early onset of fetal growth restriction (FGR). FGR is a major obstetric problem, affecting 1.46 million fetuses worldwide each year and contributing to 50% of stillbirths. The combination of FGR and prematurity is associated with a significant risk of neonatal mortality and short and long-term complications. In animal studies a gene therapy expressing Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) given into the uterine arteries has been shown to safely increase blood flow to the womb and improve fetal growth. Our trial will see whether this can work in pregnant women.