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TUCSON, AZ, United States

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 103.29K | Year: 2006

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The long term goal of this project is to develop a simple to use device for sampling cells along the length of the colon for purposes of screening for colorectal cancer. This device is intended to be used to provide cell samples for use in current and future DNA marker screens for colorectal cancer. The motivation for the device is to provide a means for patients to easily collect and store an adequate sample for screening that avoids the need to collect and store an entire bowel movement, as is currently required. The elimination of this step is believed to be an important step for broad patient participation in screening programs with the great potential of DNA marker screening. Regardless of the quality of the screening methodology, it will not be possible to have an optimal impact upon colorectal cancer unless there is a high level of patient participation in the screening program. This project is designed to develop an ingestible capsule that will sample cells from the gastrointestinal tract that can be tested for markers for colon cancer. This would provide a novel method for colon cancer screening that may have better patient acceptance and screening accuracy. This could result in a significant improvement in the colorectal cancer screening programs in the United States which could lead to a significant decrease in unnecessary mortality due to colorectal cancer.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 398.94K | Year: 2011

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Melanoma is a frequently fatal cancer that, if detected early, is relatively easily cured. This disease is rapidly increasing in frequency and has recently been identified by the National Center for Health Statistics Health Disparities Study as a high profile health disparity. Further it has been noted to occur more frequently now in both young people and Hispanic populations. We have developed a unique, proprietary and innovative self-screening imaging technology (DermAlert) that has the potential to significantly mitigate disparate melanoma outcomes by more fully involving people at-risk of melanoma in their own healthcare, and by enabling much earlier detection of new and changed pigmented lesions that may be early melanomas. The goal of this NIH grant program is to address key issues (patient related causes for the disparity and physician/insurance requirements for efficacy demonstration) for the translation of this technology into the at- risk community to realize reduction in melanoma disparity. We propose a program to research the efficacy of DermAlert imaging self screening for new and changed pigmented lesions, and to provide education that will be useful in overcoming barriers to use of the DermAlert system in affected populations. Phase I activities will include: Conversion of DermAlert to a Spanish language resource, Analysis of specific classes of barriers to use of imaging by groups suffering melanoma health disparities, Development of education andoutreach tools to help overcome barriers to use of self imaging screening, Preliminary evaluation of the effect of DermAlert use on health outcomes, and Preparation for an expanded, large scale efficacy study during Phase II. As pigmented lesions,for which change was detected by the imaging system, are biopsied, the results of those biopsies will be tabulated and statistically compared with control set of biopsies for which imaging was not a motivating factor. Using this approach it will be possible to investigate not only patient compliance in the use of the imaging system, but also its utility in helping to guide more effective biopsy decisions. This part of the project will address its efficacy and the resultant medical outcomes Measureable milestones during Phase I include the following, which can be used to help assess the viability of progressing to Phase II research: Qualitative and quantitative identification of specific barriers to imaging that contribute to the health disparity Preparation of an educational video for helping patients and physicians overcome barriers to use of this technology, and Foundation and preliminary analysis of an archive of follow-up biopsy data for evaluation of efficacy of using DermAlert. Successfulcompletion of the project will result in enhanced awareness and reduced barriers to use of a completely unique imaging protocols which will more deeply involve patients in their personal health care, contribute to earlier detection of potential melanomas,and have the power to ultimately reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and reduce patient mortality at the hands of a serious health disparity. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Melanoma is a serious, and growing, public health disparity; to help combatit physicians urge people to look for new and changed pigmented moles on their skin. This is presently a very challenging task for people; however, this project will seek to reduce barriers to use of a reliable, at-home digital photography tool to assist people in finding these changes. Wide use of this technology can reduce the health disparities of melanoma.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 313.38K | Year: 2007

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Essentially all newborns in the United States (about 4 million per year) and at least 30 other countries have blood samples obtained on filter paper cards for the purpose of screening for a number of metabolic and genetic diseases. To prevent morbidity, such as brain damage, from metabolic diseases such as phenylketonuria or congenital hypothyroidism, it is critical that the screening results be obtained in a timely fashion. A persistent and well-documented problem for the newborn screening programs has been the arrival of inadequate blood card samples at the testing laboratories. These result in expensive recall testing and introduce a dangerous delay in the diagnosis of disease. This project will develop an imaging based system for the evaluation of blood cards to determine if they are adequate. Use of such a system at a birthing center will allow for the immediate correction of the problem, saving health care dollars and preventing any unnecessary delay in the diagnosis of important metabolic diseases. This project will result the development of a simple and economically advantageous computer based system for point of care use to determine if newborn screening blood sample cards are adequate for testing. This will allow for the immediate correction of inadequate cards prior to being sent to the lab for testing and while the newborn is still at the birthing center. The goal is to reduce dangerous delays in testing that can lead to avoidable morbidity and mortality associated with late diagnosis.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 426.32K | Year: 2007

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Obstructive sleep apnea affects about 3-4% of the population including children. There is considerable associated morbidity and mortality. In particular there is a strong association with hypertension and cardiac disease. Daytime somnolence leads to increased traffic accidents and decreased worker production. The key diagnostic testing for this condition is overnight sleep testing or nocturnal polysomnography. Despite the seriousness of this medical condition about 80% of those afflicted are undiagnosed. This is due, in part, to the expense and lack of availability of standard polysomnography. This has lead to a great deal of interest in the development of portable testing systems that provide economical, readily available and accurate testing for obstructive sleep apnea at home. We propose a single type of sensor based monitoring system that would provide a reliable and simple to use unit that should allow for economical and efficient home testing. Although we propose the use of a single sensor to allow for a simple to use system, we incorporate data analysis methods that will allow for the recovery of four independent metrics for prediction of obstructive sleep apnea. This should allow for a more accurate testing system than current portable systems. Since the proposed system will correct the major problems with portable sleep testing instruments (practical, mechanical and provide multiple metrics for diagnostic accuracy), we anticipate that this project would result in a successful commercial product. This project will result the development of a simple to use, at-home technology for the diagnosis of sleep apnea. This is important since sleep apnea is a common and serious disorder afflicting 3-4% of the population and contributes significantly to heart disease and stroke. Sleep apnea also is implicated in a tremendous cost from work related problems and car accidents. Despite this nearly 90-95% of sleep apnea patients are not diagnosed, in part, due to the expense and difficulty of providing laboratory sleep studies.

Kraus A.L.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Tucker R.A.,Goodricke Pigott Observatory | Thompson M.I.,Global Network of Astronomical Telescopes Inc. | Craine E.R.,Global Network of Astronomical Telescopes Inc. | And 3 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2011

The fundamental properties of low-mass stars are not as well understood as those of their more massive counterparts. The best method for constraining these properties, especially masses and radii, is to study eclipsing binary systems, but only a small number of late-type (≥M0) systems have been identified and well characterized to date. We present the discovery and characterization of six new M dwarf eclipsing binary systems. The 12 stars in these eclipsing systems have masses spanning 0.38-0.59 M⊙ and orbital periods of 0.6-1.7 days, with typical uncertainties of ∼0.3% in mass and ∼0.5%-2.0% in radius. Combined with six known systems with high-precision measurements, our results reveal an intriguing trend in the low-mass regime. For stars with M = 0.35-0.80 M⊙, components in short-period binary systems (P ≲1 day; 12 stars) have radii which are inflated by up to 10% (μ = 4.8% ± 1.0%) with respect to evolutionary models for low-mass main-sequence stars, whereas components in longer-period systems (>1.5 days; 12 stars) tend to have smaller radii (μ = 1.7% ± 0.7%). This trend supports the hypothesis that short-period systems are inflated by the influence of the close companion, most likely because they are tidally locked into very high rotation speeds that enhance activity and inhibit convection. In summary, very close binary systems are not representative of typical M dwarfs, but our results for longer-period systems indicate that the evolutionary models are broadly valid in the M ∼ 0.35-0.80 M⊙ regime. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. Source

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