As Principal Investigator for Prapela's NIH funded study on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, I participated in last week's HEAL Investigator meeting near Washington DC. HEAL (Helping End Addiction Long-Term) is an aggressive program from our National Institutes of Health (NIH) to speed scientific solutions to stem the opioid crisis. Over 400 attendees shared their research perspectives and challenges. There was plenty of robust dialogue.
While most discussions focused on adult substance use disorder, Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health, opened the meeting, making two critical points about NAS.
1. "There is no national standard for care of infants exposed to opioids."
2. "Enhanced outcomes for infants and children exposed to opioids" is one of the six research focus areas of the HEAL initiative
In other words, there is still a lot of work to be done to help NAS babies and their caregivers.
Prapela, a beneficiary of the HEAL initiative, is working to introduce SVS as part of the solution. The SVS hospital bassinet pad is patented, funded with an SBIR grant from the NIH, supported with published peer-review results, and recently earned "Breakthrough Device" designation by the FDA. Based on those attending, poster presentations, and the NIH eReporter database, SVS is a unique potential solution to improve NAS outcomes.
We are grateful for the opportunity provided by the HEAL program. It was inspiring to meet so many research professionals dedicated to developing and proving new solutions. Seeing Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in action at the meeting was a real treat. For our part, we will be working hard this year to earn regulatory clearance for our SVS device as an adjunctive treatment for NAS newborns. We are sure to benefit from the expertise of new friends we met at the meeting.
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Principal Investigator and Co-founder of Prapela, Inc.