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Congressman Eric Swalwell

Representing the 15th District of California

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Sandia Lab spinout wins $150K NIH grant for neonatal sepsis test

August 27, 2013
In The News

Sandstone Diagnostics Inc. won a nearly $150,000 National Institutes of Health grant to develop an instrument to quickly detect a potentially deadly blood infection in newborns.

The Livermore company was founded last year with technology spun out of national defense work at Sandia National Laboratory. Its instrument is designed to help neonatal intensive care units monitor protein and cellular biomarkers in newborns with sepsis, an inflammatory disease where the entire body responds to severe infection.

Severe sepsis strikes about 750,000 Americans each year, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and as many of half of those people die.

The instrument needs only a few drops of blood from pricking a baby’s heel and can run a test in minutes, rather than days.

“Neonatal sepsis is an enormous problem and the current methods for monitoring patients and diagnosing sepsis are not adequate,” Sandstone co-founder and CEO Greg Sommer said in a press release from U.S. Rep.Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from Dublin, that announced the grant. “It’s extremely difficult to draw blood from a very small infant, and the child’s condition can change drastically within the days that it takes a laboratory to make a diagnosis.”