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Posted: October 6, 2009
Nanomedicine Company Focuses on Improving Premature Infant Health and Reducing Death Rate
(Nanowerk News) NanoStar™ Health Corporation today announced its sole focus of delivering novel nanotechnology solutions for instantly assessing the metabolic health of the nearly 13 million premature infants born throughout the world, without requiring a costly, complex medical infrastructure.
The global prevalence of preterm births, defined as less than 37 weeks gestation, is 9.6 percent. In decreasing order of prevalence, these births occur in Africa, North America (defined as the United States and Canada), Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), and Europe. Additionally, the prevalence of preterm births is increasing. In the United States, it has increased 36 percent in the past 25 years. Health focused organizations such as the March of Dimes, World Health Organization, and the U.S. National Institute of Health have recently identified strategies for improving the care and reducing the death rate of premature infants as top priorities.
"Because these infants are premature, their organs aren't fully developed, which places them at risk for maldevelopment or malfunction and susceptibility to the external world via infections and other health risks. It is key to assess their metabolic health in order to determine the best strategies for keeping these sick infants alive while they continue to develop to term," said Michael D. Black, MD, MBA, renowned congenital cardiac surgeon and Chief Medical Officer of NanoStar Health. "Unfortunately, today this is done by sticking the baby's heel with a scalpel to collect and analyze a blood sample every four to six hours. This method is not only a source of severe trauma, which has recently been linked to adult learning disabilities; but it is also the number one cause of anemia in these sick infants. This medically induced anemia leads to an average of over five blood transfusions per week with standard lab blood testing methods and over three transfusions with newer point-of-care blood testing, with each transfusion introducing additional health risks to these already ailing children," Black said.
"Nanotechnology offers the promise of delivering innovative methods of assessing and treating the health of preemies," said Nihat Okulan, PhD, and Chief Technology Officer of NanoStar Health. "Not only do nanotechnology products meet the size needs of pediatric patients, they also allow us to create new paradigms in clinical methodology including immediate test results utilizing significantly smaller sample sizes. For example, nano-sized devices, which are characterized by their high surface area and low sample
volume, allow for faster response times with the use of lower and safer concentrations of the respective samples," Okulan said.
"The focus of our product development at NanoStar Health is not only assessing the health of premature infants, but doing so in a way that does not further traumatize the infant or require a costly healthcare infrastructure. Therefore, these products will not only benefit the infants born in first-world countries, but in all countries including Africa and Asia where medical technology resources are scarce, but 85 percent of the nearly 13 million preemies are born yearly," said Anita Chambers, PhD, MBA, and Chief Operations Officer of NanoStar Health. "Providing healthcare options to underserved patient populations, while simultaneously reducing healthcare costs are the key tenets of our business, nanotechnology is our method of accomplishing this," Chambers said.
About NanoStar™ Health Corporation
NanoStar Health is positioned to become a global leader in the emerging technology arena of nanomedical devices specifically designed for premature infants. The Company began operations in March 2009 and was incorporated in May 2009 to capitalize on the founder's expertise in nanotechnology, neonatal and pediatric medicine, and medical device commercialization.
NanoStar Health founders include:
Michael D. Black, MD, MBA - Chief Medical Officer, a R.S. McLaughlin Fellow, is a practicing congenital cardiac surgeon (adult and pediatric). Currently Dr. Black is the Chief of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Program at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Dr. Black was Chief of the Pediatric Heart Program from 1999 - 2003 at Stanford University School of Medicine and additionally a founding member of Bio-design consortium at Stanford University.
Anita Chambers PhD, MBA - Chief Operating Officer, a Fielding Institute for Social Innovation Founding Fellow, has nearly 25 years experience in the medical industry where she has successfully developed, commercialized and launched 26 medical devices including many "world's firsts." Her background includes clinical medicine expertise, social science expertise, and expertise in technology management.
Nihat Okulan PhD - Chief Technology Officer, is an expert in developing MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) and Nanotechnology for commercial and medical applications. He has conducted MEMS research and development for over ten years and has published numerous papers on MEMS devices and fabrication technologies. Many of Dr. Okulan's efforts have been directed towards the manufacturability of nano- and micro-devices.