London - Scientists have managed to create "mini-placentas" in the lab, offering hope that they may be able to find answers to dangerous and tragic pregnancy complications such as stillbirth and pre-eclampsia.
They are thought to be caused by problems with the placenta in the first three months after conception.
The mini-placentas, so small they are invisible to the naked eye, have been grown by a team led by the University of Cambridge.
Professor Ashley Moffett, of the university’s pathology department and co-author of a study published in the journal Nature, said: "We hope what we observe in these mini-placentas will shed light on why some pregnancies do not work."
The mini-placentas also release a protein thought to act on the part of the brain that causes vomiting. This finding could lead to a drug for severe morning sickness like that endured by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.Daily Mail