Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), also known as Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA), is the most common lethal inherited disorder with more than 300,000 babies born with SCA each year. The vast majority of these infants are born in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Hemolysis associated with SCA affects the blood and various organs in the body, causing episodes of pain and other symptoms. Complications caused by SCA can be mitigated with early diagnosis and specialized treatment. The U.S. has adopted a universal newborn screening for SCA; however, countries with the greatest prevalence of SCA births have insufficient resources for such public health programs.
In 2015, Capnia was awarded a grant to help fund the design of a modified CoSense® ETCO Monitor suitable for field use in developing countries with a high prevalence of SCA. The grant is supported by a recently published, peer-reviewed study titled “Point-of-Care End-Tidal Carbon Monoxide Reflects Severity of Hemolysis in Sickle Cell Anemia” (Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015 May; 62(5): 912-4. doi: 10.1002/pbc. 25447. Epub 2015 Feb 14). Results from the published study demonstrate that the CoSense Monitor accurately distinguishes children with SCA from age-matched healthy controls by measuring ETCO with a simple, rapid, non-invasive breath test. These data suggest that ETCO may be a valuable tool for ongoing non-invasive monitoring of the severity of hemolysis in SCA, and that ETCO has potential for use as a point-of-care screening test for SCA. Capnia will continue the development of a point-of-care CoSense Monitor that can be used in developing countries, where 90 percent of the SCA births occur.
One source of exogenous CO is smoking, which is extremely harmful to one’s health and is known to be a risk factor for many diseases in adulthood. Most smokers (around 80-90%) would like to quit but have not been able to do so. Due to the development of strong physical substance dependence to nicotine or psychological dependence to smoking, there is a need for smoking cessation programs. CoSense can be used in smoking cessation programs to determine if an individual has been smoking. Increased levels of CO are observed in smokers. CoSense can be used to motivate participants by charting their progress in the program.
Common sources of exogenous carbon monoxide include vehicle exhaust, malfunctioning heaters or poorly ventilated fires. Since carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, it is difficult to detect. Carbon monoxide poisoning is equally difficult to detect because the initial symptoms are often only headache, nausea and/or lightheadedness but may rapidly progress to coma or death if not detected. Use of a rapid, inexpensive, non-invasive device to measure patients’ carbon monoxide levels in hospital emergency rooms would result in a quick diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning as opposed to a misdiagnosis such as the flu. CoSense can also be used by emergency services to help identify patients who are suspected of having CO poisoning. Using CoSense can allow the patient to receive treatment more rapidly and may improve their odds of survival.