Biostrap to partner with leading pediatric hospital to develop biomarker for sickle cell disease

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Monitoring and detecting changes in blood flow through Biostrap’s high-resolution PPG data capture, researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are confident the biomarker can make a difference in the pain management for patients with sickle cell disease.

Woman wears Biostrap during sleep

Moving blood flow measurements from the lab to the home is a crucial step in the development of this biomarker and its widespread implementation. This will enable us to intervene in real time and potentially alleviate pain in sickle cell disease patients.

The power of raw waveform photoplethysmography (PPG) in wearable technology now allows researchers to monitor patients’ health in the comfort of their home without sacrificing data reliability.

Not all wearables are made equal though. Most discard 90% of that data to ease customer usability. A clinically reliable health monitoring platform called Biostrap, on the other hand, uses raw PPG as its superpower to help advance science. Collaborating with Biostrap and utilizing its wrist-worn device’s data capture, researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) are working on developing a new physiological biomarker to detect the autonomic vascular dysfunction of sickle cell disease patients.

“We are really excited about this collaboration with CHLA,” said Sameer Sontakey, CEO at Biostrap. “We’ve always believed in the power of PPG. There’s so much knowledge embedded deep into it, and the biomarker CHLA researchers are developing shows the beauty of what PPG has to offer to the world.“

The seriousness of this genetic disease varies among patients and no readily available cure currently exists. A common complication; however, is musculoskeletal pain due to obstruction of blood flow in the microcirculation that may even prompt hospitalization.

The Biostrap, unlike other wearables, gives researchers access to the entire high-resolution raw waveform data from which they can run their own algorithm on monitoring and detecting changes in blood flow.

“We’re trying to develop blood flow response as a biomarker to be able to determine how bad the disease is going to be, or ideally, even predict that pain might be coming on, so we can do something to stop that pain crises and proactively manage its severity,” said Saranya Veluswamy, MD, hematologist at CHLA and Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

There hasn’t been any objective measure to understand the severity of one’s condition, but CHLA researchers believe they have found a valid predictor.

“We needed something patients could wear outside of the hospital while having access to the raw blood flow data that we can download, run our own algorithm on and derive the parameter that we think is going to be predictive of pain,” Veluswamy said.

Biostrap’s technology provides exactly that. The accuracy at which Biostrap allows remote monitoring to be a valuable solution boils down to its proprietary Infrared/Red optical sensor.

Biostrap takes high signal-to-noise and high-resolution measurements from the arteries to extract in-depth biometric data such as SpO2, arterial elasticity and other unique cardiovascular metrics. Most market solutions utilize green light sensors, which only capture blood flow superficially in the capillaries just below the skin. By using infrared light PPG, Biostrap is able to measure at the arterial level, has better signal purification and noise reduction resulting in significantly improved sensor accuracy and a higher fidelity PPG signal.

Additionally, unlike green light sensors, IR/Red-based PPG signal quality is not as affected by melanin (darker skin tone), tattoos, freckles, hair and other physiological variations that impact the accuracy of green light.

Current treatments to sickle cell disease include lifelong medication, or on rare occasions, bone marrow transplants. However, the latter is not a viable option for a lot of people.

This blood flow biomarker may be the first objective predictor related to pain in sickle cell disease patients. “Moving blood flow measurements from the lab to the home is a crucial step in the development of this biomarker and its widespread implementation. This will enable us to intervene in real time and potentially alleviate pain in sickle cell disease patients,” Veluswamy said.

About Biostrap
Biostrap is a company that has evolved from being a consumer wearable into a comprehensive health monitoring platform. The recently updated biosensor, Biostrap EVO, captures biometrics such as blood oxygen saturation, respiration rate, heart rate and heart rate variability as well as steps, activities and comprehensive sleep metrics. Utilizing IR and red light sensors, the Biostrap wrist-worn sensor captures data 10 times deeper than the standard green light-based consumer wearables. Additionally, utilizing a series of Bluetooth-enabled wearables, Biostrap captures clinically reliable high-fidelity signals and transfers this data to a proprietary pulse engine for processing in the cloud. Through a suite of mobile and web applications, Biostrap offers clinicians, coaches and professionals remote population monitoring solutions. To learn more, go to http://www.biostrap.com

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Klaudia Balogh
@biostrap
since: 01/2016
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