Women with history of miscarriages given hope by $1.80 diabetes pill

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images 

A £1 ($AU1.80) PILL currently used to treat diabetes could help women who suffer multiple miscarriages, research suggests.

A UK woman who took part in the trial has spoken of her joy after giving birth to a son after suffering four miscarriages. Cally Cusack and her partner Joshua had almost given up hope, but finally achieved success after three months on the drug.

The treatment works by increasing the number of stem cells in the lining of the womb.

Previous research by University of Warwick found that a lack of stem cells in the uterus wall was causing thousands of women to suffer recurrent miscarriages. It also found that the cells protect against stress and inflammation, which can cause the breakdown of the womb lining.

The new study used a diabetes drug called sitagliptin to attempt to inhibit an enzyme that affects circulation of stem cells in the womb. In the trial, 38 women aged 18 to 42 who had experienced a large number of recurrent miscarriages - five on average - were given either a course of sitagliptin or a placebo for three menstrual cycles.

Those given the drug saw their stem cell count increase by an average of 68 per cent, with a 50 per cent decrease in the number of "stressed" cells present in the lining of the womb. Scientists now hope to carry out clinical trials to see if it cuts miscarriage rates.

Currently, the drug is used by the British NHS to treat diabetes, at a cost of £8 ($AU15) a week. Researchers said the findings, published in EBioMedicine, were "very exciting". Prof Jan Brosens, of Warwick Medical School, said: "There are few effective treatments for miscarriage and this is the first that aims at normalising the womb before pregnancy."

Cally Cusack, 29, from Doncaster, said: "Throughout the entire pregnancy, you are on eggshells. I had lost four at various stages, between six and 14 weeks' gestation. To get to the end and have Dawson - we were elated."

The Daily Telegraph, London