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Research within Northern Neonatal Network

The care of preterm babies is a rapidly changing and developing field. Outcomes for preterm and sick infants have improved dramatically over the past two decades. Research has been one of the main drivers for this improvement, following the development of new treatments and interventions to improve the care we give to our babies. As a network, we participate in national and international trials as well as develop research studies within the region.

Current research studies ongoing within the region are: 



Baby Oscar:

BPSU Life threatening bronchopulmonary dysplasia:


MARINAC: Magnetic Resonance in Infection-Primed Neonatal Encephalopathy and N-acetyl cysteine

Great North Neonatal Biobank:


An overview of some of the research studies and presentations can be found at:



A research study designed to test whether giving lactoferrin, a naturally-occurring milk protein (often used as a food supplement), to babies born very early can help to protect them against infections and other serious illnesses during their stay in hospital.

Further details can be found at



The ELFIN study will tell us whether lactoferrin is a useful treatment for preterm babies. If lactoferrin is useful it might work in different ways. For example, it might work by increasing the numbers of ‘healthy bacteria’ or by affecting how the immune system works. The MAGPIE study aims to find out how lactoferrin might work.

Further details can be found at:



Babies born preterm commonly have a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). This is when the blood vessel (Ductus arteriosus, which allows during pregnancy, blood to bypass the baby’s developing lungs and reach the mother’s placenta, remains open after birth. The word ‘patent’ here means ‘open’. A PDA is associated with a number of very serious and life threatening complications which can include brain damage and chronic breathing difficulties. The condition can be treated with ibuprofen, but giving extremely preterm babies can result in significant complications. Medical opinion is therefore divided on how best to care for extremely preterm babies with a PDA. In Baby Oscar, Babies will be randomly allocated to receive either treatment with ibuprofen or a matched placebo. Information will be collected about if/when the PDA closes and other health outcomes.

More information can be found at:

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