Severe jaundice is virtually 100 percent curable with high intensity blue light phototherapy, yet more than 100,000 newborns die from this every year in developing areas of the world because they lack access to this treatment.
BOSTON (PRWEB) December 04, 2018
Little Sparrows Technologies, a neonatal medical device startup committed to developing innovative approaches that promote the wellbeing of newborns, won the 2018 Patents for Humanity Award for bili-hut™, an innovative portable device designed to treat infant jaundice. Patents for Humanity is the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) awards competition recognizing innovators who use game-changing technology to meet global humanitarian challenges. Little Sparrows Technology received the award at last week’s USPTO ceremony in Alexandria, VA.
“Severe jaundice is virtually 100 percent curable with high intensity blue light phototherapy, yet more than 100,000 newborns die from this every year in developing areas of the world because they lack access to this treatment,” said Dr. Donna Brezinski, CEO and founder, Little Sparrows Technologies. “The bili-hut has a unique design that is ultra-portable and capable of prolonged battery operation. Our initial studies in East Africa have indicated equivalent or better performance with the bili-hut compared to current phototherapy devices. For the first time a highly effective jaundice treatment is possible even in the most remote areas of the world. We continue to extend our global reach with a planned launch of the bili-hut in Peru over the next two years, sponsored by a Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge Grant. In addition, we anticipate FDA clearance in 2019 and look forward to bringing this product to hospitals and pediatric offices around the United States.”
Neonatal jaundice (NNJ) is a transitional phenomenon which affects three out of five newborns in their first weeks of life. Jaundice causes a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes in newborns and typically subsides within a few days. Approximately 10 percent of all newborns have severe jaundice requiring phototherapy to prevent irreversible neurologic injury, if untreated.
Jaundice is one of the most common diagnoses associated with infant readmission to a hospital in the first month of life. In the United States, it is estimated that 100,000 infants develop severe jaundice, costing the healthcare systems $500M annually for hospital-based care. Hospital phototherapy devices can be daunting for new parents and extended hospital stays stressful and expensive. The bili-hut™ is capable of delivering hospital intensity phototherapy at the parent’s bedside, presenting a new, innovative and cost -effective approach to addressing these challenges.
Worldwide an estimated 14 million babies develop significant jaundice shortly after birth, requiring intervention. Phototherapy treatment is frequently not available because standard phototherapy devices are expensive, bulky and not suitable for low and middle-income countries (LMIC). As a result, many newborns in these regions die from this curable condition or develop kernicterus, a form of brain damage from jaundice, when medical intervention is late or ineffective.
Invented by Dr. Brezinski, a neonatal-perinatal specialist, the bili-hut is a significant advancement for neonatal global health that has a practical and portable bassinet-like design. This allows newborns to undergo treatment anywhere – at home, in the hospital, as well as in the most remote locations. With the bili-hut™ doctors can improve the quality of care for infants by maintaining a close relationship with parents while helping to reduce emergency room visits and readmissions.
“This award recognizes the importance of developing disruptive solutions that can transform our approach to newborn care,” continued Dr. Brezinski. “Devices such as the bili-hut democratize healthcare and provide the best possible start for every baby, regardless of where they are born. It is a great honor to receive the Patents for Humanity Award.”
About Little Sparrows Technologies
Founded in 2013 by Harvard Medical School affiliated doctors, Little Sparrows Technologies offers an innovative approach for treating infant jaundice. The bili-hut is a cost-effective phototherapy device that uses blue LED lights in a reflective bassinet that is capable of operation on battery power. It is simple to use and collapsible for easy transport. Little Sparrows has received two phases of funding from the NIH’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, and The World Health Organization included the bili-hut in its Compendium of Medical Devices for Global Health. Little Sparrows Technologies offers several business models to support US pediatricians and hospitals, as well as international implementations. For more information visit http://www.little-sparrows-tech.com
Dr. Donna Brezinski, Founder and CEO
media (at) littlesparrowstech (dot) com