In the United States alone, an estimated $25.7 billion U.S. dollars are charged to insurance providers and payers to perform blood panels assessing organ maturity on the 542,893 premature infants born each year. Additionally, an estimated $10.8 billion U.S. dollars is charged for blood transfusions required by performing these blood panels. Together, these total $36.6 billion U.S. dollars charged for blood tests and transfusions initially performed in the first two weeks of life for premature infants.
(PRWEB) November 4, 2009 -- NanoStar™ Health Corporation today announced that an estimated $25.7 billion U.S. dollars are charged to insurance providers and payers to perform blood panels assessing organ maturity on the 542,893 premature infants born in the United States per year. Additionally, the method of collecting the blood for these tests is the number one cause of anemia in these sick babies, thereby requiring an additional $10.8 billion U.S. dollars in blood transfusions. Together, these total $36.6 billion U.S. dollars charged for blood tests and transfusions initially performed in the first two weeks of life for these premature infants.
“Because these infants are premature, their organs are not 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. “Sadly, 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 during the first two weeks of the child’s life. 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.
In a recent report released by the March of Dimes and the World Health Organization, the global prevalence of preterm births, which is defined as less than 37 weeks gestation, was identified at 9.6 percent, or nearly 13 million births. However, the National Center for Health Statistics yesterday reported that 12.4 percent of U.S. births are preterm, which is equivalent to one in eight births. Additionally, the prevalence of preterm births is increasing, where in the United States, it has increased 36 percent since 1984. Experts has identified a myriad of reasons for this increase including fertility procedures, the lack of prenatal care for the uninsured, maternal obesity and smoking, and doctors inducing labor prior to 37 weeks gestation.
“Although $36 billion dollars in medical fees significantly taxes the already strained United States healthcare system, it translates to a very small niche market for the medical device industry,” said product development veteran and Chief Operating Officer of NanoStar Health, Anita Chambers, PhD, MBA. “Large medical product corporations are not generally interested in developing products to serve only 12.4 percent of the United States or 9.6 percent of the worldwide market. Therefore, these premature infants represent a rapidly growing underserved patient population that continues to contribute to escalating healthcare costs,” Chambers said.
“Nanotechnology offers the promise of delivering innovative methods of assessing and treating the health of premature infants,” said Nihat Okulan, PhD, and Chief Technology Officer of NanoStar Health. “Not only do nanotechnology products meet the size needs of these tiny patients, but they also allow us to create new paradigms in clinical methodology including immediate blood test results utilizing significantly smaller sample sizes. For example, nano-sized devices, which are characterized by their high surface to volume ratio, allow for faster response times with the use of lower and safer concentrations of the respective samples," Okulan said.
“Unlike large medical corporations, NanoStar Health is not focused on the larger patient markets. We are a small start-up company hoping to take advantage of stimulus package grants to deliver a product that could reduce the $36 billion dollars in U.S. charges for blood tests and transfusions to less than $2 billion dollars, while still allowing providers to generate reasonable profits for conducting these procedures. We chose not to focus on the largest patient markets, but instead to focus on one of the smallest where we can make the most significant difference for the patients, the economy, and the overall healthcare system,” Chambers said.
“The focus of our medical device 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 premature infant or require a costly healthcare infrastructure. Therefore, these products will not only benefit the infants born in first-world countries like the United States, but in all countries including those where medical technology resources are scarce,” said Black. “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.
Additional information is available at www.nanostarhealth.com
Chief Operating Officer
NanoStar Health Corporation
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