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The placenta is the least understood human organ and arguably one of the more important, not only for the health of a woman and her fetus during pregnancy but also for the lifelong health of both. To address this lack of knowledge, the NICHD believes a concerted effort, the Human Placenta Project, would make substantial inroads. Initial goals of the Human Placenta Project are to: Improve current methods, and develop new technologies, for real-time assessment of placental development. Apply these technologies to understand and monitor, in real time, placental development and function in normal and abnormal pregnancies. Develop and evaluate non-invasive markers for prediction of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Understand the contributions of placental development to long term health and disease. Develop interventions to prevent abnormal placental development, and hence improve pregnancy outcome.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development