Research
 
Research in Obstetrics and Gynecology Ranges from basic science laboratory-based research to translational research and clinical trials.  Summaries of research in each section are provided below.


Gynecologic Oncology

The ultimate goal of this research is to diagnose and prevent gynecologic cancers.   Doris Benbrook, PhD directs the basic and translational research.  She developed an organotypic experimental model that is being used to study the 3-dimensional network of interactions that can drive and counteract this evolution.  Her collaboration with a fellow North Central College Alumnus, K. Darrell Berlin, PhD, an organic chemist at Oklahoma State University, resulted in development of a lead compound, called SHetA2, that can prevent the development of cancer in the organotypic model.  SHetA2 was developed to possess a low toxicity profile and is in the NCI's RAPID Program for preclinical development as a chemoprevention agent. Clinical trials a SHetA2 pill to prevent cancer are anticipated to begin in the summer of 2010.  Additional collaboration with Igor Dozmorov, PhD, a bio-informatician at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), identified key regulatory molecules involved in the biological systems driving carcinogenesis and chemo prevention in the organotypic model.  These molecules are being targeted in diagnostic, prognostic, prevention and treatment strategies.  Collaborations with international Gynecologic Oncology Group and local OU Cancer Institute provide the opportunity to translate this research into patient care.  This research provides training opportunities for Gynecologic Oncology Fellows and Biochemistry Graduate Students.


Maternal Fetal Medicine

There are presently several areas of research in the Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.   A major research focus that includes clinical as well as basic science approaches is the impact of maternal health on fetal well being and development. This includes clinical studies into the effects of maternal diabetes on fetal and subsequent infant growth and adiposity as well as basic studies using animal models into the impact of hypoxia on development of various fetal endocrine systems that regulate homeostasis and metabolism.  Research is also ongoing in the Section on molecular mechanisms governing function of cervical fibroblasts that relate to changes in cervical structure that may lead to preterm labor.


Reproductive Endocrinology

OU Physicians Reproductive Health is committed to helping couples reach their dream of parenthood through excellence in clinical care, education and research.  The treatment of couples struggling with infertility is constantly evolving. The specialists at OU Physicians Reproductive Health are at a particular advantage due to their active involvement in reproductive research and education. Both of our physicians have numerous teaching awards and have had their research recognized nationally.  Highlights of their research findings are summarized below: 
 
Transvaginal ultrasound exam are correlated with ovarian egg number. Recent studies have demonstrated that the ovarian antral follicle counts obtained by transvaginal ultrasound examination are correlated with stimulation quality in NF cycles. Many physicians and scientists believed that the antral follicle count may be an indicator of how many eggs remain in a woman's ovaries; however, this had never been proven. Research by Karl Hansen, M.D., Ph.D. presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine demonstrated conclusively t % at ovarian antral follicle counts are correlated with ovarian egg number, allowing physicians to incorporate this test in their assessment of the reproductive age of a woman with confidence. This research is an extension of Dr. Hansen's investigation of reproductive aging which led to his prize-winning paper in 2006 at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine annual meeting describing a new mode of reproductive aging in women (Hansen et al.Human Reproduction, 23,699-708,2008).

Acupuncture does not improve live birth rates in  invitro fertilization (IVF).  Previous investigations have suggested that acupuncture may improve success rates in IVF cycles. LaTasha Craig, M.D. designed a randomized trial to evaluate whether acupuncture before and after embryo transfer during (IVF) had an effect on live-birth rates.  As opposed to previous studies, she determined that live birth rates were decreased with acupuncture treatment compared to controls (live-birth rate 65% vs 39%, p < 0.01, control vs. acupuncture, respectively). Dr. Craig presented her research at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in Washington D.C. as a prize paper candidate.