Before, collecting new information about the development of newborn babies during their first weeks of life because of the limited amount of sample blood researchers can extract from a newborn child.
But now, thanks to the combined efforts of international research teams as well as researchers from the University of British Columbia, a new technique was used to be able to gather enough important data from just a little amount of blood.
The research team made it all possible by devising a way to decrease the amount of blood necessary. And, with the help of advanced software, valuable data was analyzed from the small amount of blood extracted. With just less than ¼ teaspoon of blood, an enormous amount of crucial data became available to the team of researchers.
Among the members of the research team is Casey Shannon, a computational biologist at the PROOF Centre in Vancouver. According to Shannon, they have discovered thousands of changes during the first week of life, such changes in gene expression as well as components of immune defense like interferons, neutrophil function, and complement pathways because of the new technique that was utilized in the research. This is a big win for the healthcare field.
A senior author in the study and the Canada Research Chair in Health and Genomics at UBC, Robert Hancock, added that they have found out that the first week of the life of a newborn child is highly dynamic, unlike what is observed in healthy adults.
Through this recently developed technique, the team plans to monitor the impact of other components on the health and development of newborns. They intend to gauge the reaction of babies to vaccines and aim to study more on the effects of immunization on the newborns.
The data they have discovered can be quite important in the development of better vaccines that may be given to newborn babies in the future, as per Dr. Tobias Kollmann, another one of the senior authors in the study and a professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine.