London - Women are clamouring to join a drug trial that might end the heartbreak of repeated miscarriages, scientists said.
Professor Siobhan Quenby, of the University of Warwick, said her trial will involve 3 000 women around the UK.
The £1.9-million trial, which will use antibiotics, is aimed at establishing that recurrent miscarriage is the result of endometritis.
The condition causes inflammation of the womb lining and it is believed that this leads to recurrent miscarriage.
The researchers suspect that endometritis may be caused by an imbalance of bacteria that live in the reproductive tract – including the womb, fallopian tube, cervix and vagina.
It is thought that treating endometritis with antibiotics may kill disruptive bacteria and allow healthy bacteria to grow.
The trial will involve treating women who have had two or more miscarriages with a 14-day course of doxycycline against a placebo – a sugar pill.
Currently doctors in the US and Germany are prescribing antibiotics to women who have recurrent miscarriages, although the treatment has never been proven to work scientifically.
Professor Quenby said the results of the trial will also shed light on unexplained infertility, as inflammation of the uterus may be a factor.
She added: "Our aim is to try to improve the womb before you get pregnant. Most miscarriages occur within the first trimester [12 weeks] of pregnancy and our aim is to see a reduction in these early miscarriages."
Professor Quenby said she has already had a strong response from women who want to be guinea pigs in the trial.
Speaking at the British Science Festival, which is being held in Coventry and Warwickshire, she described the emotional toll recurrent miscarriages take on the parent, highlighting how they grieve for the lost child.
She said: "What you have lost is hope of the future, which is the same as any grief. What I get frustrated about is 'Just because you have been pregnant for a month, it doesn’t count'. A miscarriage is a grief reaction – it is normal to grieve, it is normal to be sad."
She added: "It’s really difficult to cope with this, so in my experience, because it’s so difficult, even being in a randomised controlled trial it means that something positive comes out of their disorder.
"So because of this I have people coming from all round the country to come and see me entirely to be in my trial. It just shows you how important it is – the idea of [continually] losing babies and there is nothing they can do is awful.
"But if you can be in a trial, that is at least doing something."