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Stephen Tong 

         
 
STEPHEN TONG        
       

Read article in Our Voice.        

     

Professor Stephen Tong is a specialist obstetrician and a scientist. He has a joint appointment at Mercy Hospital for Women and The University of Melbourne. 

As an obstetrician, Stephen works at Mercy Hospital for Women, offering obstetric care to women. He leads The Translational Obstetrics Group, a laboratory that focuses on research to directly improve clinical care of pregnant women. His team undertakes research that spans laboratory studies (to develop drugs and better understand diseases) to the clinic (testing drugs and diagnostics in humans).

Stephen has obtained research grants totalling over two million dollars and has published 45 papers, mostly in the top international journals of obstetrics and gynaecology. He has senior authorships in Nature (2002) and Lancet (1998 and 2002).

In 2007 he received an NHMRC Achievement Award for the top ranked Clinical Career Development Fellowship.  

     
       
RESEARCH INTERESTS:        
       

1. Medication based treatments for Ectopic Pregnancy: 
Ectopic pregnancies arise when the fetus embeds in the fallopian tube. They can erode through major blood vessels, causing fatal bleeding. 
 
Professor Stephen Tong’s group is developing novel ways to cure ectopic pregnancies with medication alone. This will allow women to completely avoid an operation.
 
His group has developed a particularly promising treatment approach that consists of only a single injection, followed by tablets. He currently leads an exciting international clinical trial to see whether this medication based treatment works. If successful, it may radically change the way ectopic pregnancies are treated worldwide.
 
2. Treatments for preeclampsia: 
Severe preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that can kill babies and sometimes even the mother. In preeclampsia a toxin is released from the placenta that injures the pregnant women's vital organs. There are currently no treatments.
 
Professor Tong’s team is developing drugs to treat preeclampsia. The hope is that drugs can be developed that may allow women with severe preterm preeclampsia to safely continue their pregnancy longer, improving outcomes for the baby. 
 
3. Diagnostics to identify a sick unborn baby: 
The placenta plays a vital role in nourishing an unborn fetus, supplying it with oxygen. Unfortunately in some pregnancies the placenta does not work properly. The baby becomes growth restricted, unwell and at high risk of stillbirth.
 
Professor Stephen Tong and his team have discovered molecules released into the mother’s bloodstream when the fetus is sick and starved of oxygen. He is leading an international study - involving 10 major hospitals - to develop a blood test that will allow obstetricians to identify very sick babies.

     

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