BEDFORD, Mass., Dec. 11 -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Spire Biomedical Inc. a $100,000 contract to develop multiwavelength near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) modules for cerebral oximeters, electro-optic devices that measure oxygen saturation of blood in the brain.
Phase one of the NIH contract, which is to be completed in about six months, will demonstrate the feasibility of the multiwavelength oximeter system. Funding of phase two, for development of a complete prototype system, would follow successful completion of the first phase.
Spire Biomedical Inc. said that using real-time NIRS oximetry as a tool for monitoring blood oxygen levels in the brain holds special promise for rapidly detecting diseases and other abnormalities in neonates and small children. Noninvasive procedures are highly desirable for use on small children where minimum trauma and maximum measurement speed are important. NIRS oximetry, for example, can provide an early diagnosis of increases in cerebral blood flow, decreases in energy metabolism and changes in brain functional activity. Current technology requires a probe to be inserted under the patient's skin to detect abnormalities.