René Liang Shen

René Liang Shen, MD
René Liang Shen, MD

Early antibiotics to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm newborns and new diagnostic and prognostic potentials of blood transcriptomics

Infants born preterm are at risk of developing a severe gut disease, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). There are no good blood tests to help doctors identify the disease early. Recent studies indicate that antibiotics given for few days just after birth may reduce NEC. However, this is controversial and more research is needed before such treatment should be used. We use preterm pigs as models for infants to investigate if early antibiotic treatment can prevent NEC development later – and to understand how. We also study if blood samples can be used to detect NEC early, using transcriptomics – a method to show how all genes in blood react to NEC and antibiotics. This seems promising, as it was recently shown that dry blood spots already collected from infants (PKU cards, only few blood drops needed) can be used for transcriptomics. Based on results from preterm piglets and infants, we write a protocol for an infant study to clarify if early antibiotic treatment can help against NEC.

Mentors:

Basic mentor: Per Sangild, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen

Clinical mentor: Gorm Greisen, Department of Neonatology, Rigshospitalet