A team's research determined what changes would be needed in NICU nutrition to ensure that adequate fatty acid levels could be maintained from womb to postnatal life.
In BIDMC’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Camilia Martin, MD, tends to the medical center’s tiniest patients. Her clinical observations, coupled with earlier research findings, led her to recognize that the nutritional supplements being given to preterm infants – in both oral and intravenous forms – were not meeting the babies’ fatty acid requirements, and as a result, were increasing the preemies’ risks of developing lung diseases and infections. Together with Steven Freedman, MD, PhD, Director of the Pancreas Center at BIDMC, Martin embarked on a course of “bench-to-cribside” translational research to determine what changes would be needed in NICU nutrition to ensure that adequate fatty acid levels could be maintained from womb to postnatal life. The team’s novel work, currently being tested in animal models, has also translated to the industry setting. As scientific advisors to Newton, Massachusetts-based Alcresta, Martin and Freedman bring the NICU perspective to the company’s development of enzyme-based products to improve digestion and fatty acids in a variety of patient populations. BIDMC’s TVO has filed patents based on the work of Freedman and Deborah DaSilva, RN, which are directed to novel food products and infant formula enriched by various enzymes that help garner nutritional stability, part of Alcresta’s broad product portfolio.