Pioneering a Revolution in Neonatal Care: The Journey of Hyperfine, Inc.
Hyperfine, Inc. has embarked on a global mission to revolutionize patient care through transformational, accessible, clinically relevant diagnostic neuroimaging and data solutions. As part of this mission, the company is working to redefine the future of neonatal care in low- and middle-income countries, supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This mission launched in November 2020 when the company announced the launch of a global research program. Bolstered by a $1.6 million grant from the Gates Foundation, the goal of this initiative was to investigate the potential of portable MRI technology in identifying and potentially mitigating labor and delivery-related brain damage that results in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in newborns, especially in low-resource regions.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a condition originating from birth asphyxia or limited blood flow to the brain, affects approximately 1.5 out of every 1,000 live births and is the fifth leading cause of death among children under five, according to the World Health Organization. The prevalence of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is higher in low-resource nations, emphasizing the need for prompt detection and treatment.
Ultra-low-field Swoop® system images can aid clinicians in identifying anatomy and pathology, providing time-critical decision-making support for interventions like therapeutic hypothermia, the current primary treatment for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This global research program, part of the Gates Foundation’s focus on maternal, newborn, and child health, aims to use Portable MR Imaging systems to deliver accessible brain images that physicians can use to identify birth asphyxia-related brain injuries and enable early therapeutic intervention. Furthermore, researchers will use the Portable MR Imaging technology to assess brain volume and determine objective measures of stunting in a child’s first year, paving the way for early nutritional interventions.
As part of this program, the Gates Foundation grant funded the deployment of twenty Swoop systems, with half slated for research and protocol validation at leadership sites and the remaining ten destined for low-resource areas. The Swoop systems began shipping in 2020.
November 2021 marked another significant step forward when Hyperfine, Inc. announced an additional $3.3 million grant from the Gates Foundation to expand the use of the Swoop® Portable MR Imaging® system in developing countries. This grant intended to broaden the research scope to include young children aged 0 to 24 months in low-resource regions and increase the total number of planned Swoop system deployments to 25 across various research and clinical study sites in Europe, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In May 2023, the company expanded its research program again with an additional $3 million grant from the Gates Foundation. This additional funding extended the study to explore the neurological effects of early childhood malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries, focusing on its impact on school readiness and future academic success. In this way, neuroimaging providing objective measures of underlying neurobiological mechanisms may more accurately describe developmental outcomes.
The commitment of Hyperfine, Inc. to global health took another leap forward in June 2023 when it announced a collaboration with the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine on a research project funded by the Gates Foundation. This new partnership aims to bridge the MR access and utilization gap, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, by enhancing worldwide access to MR education and brain imaging technology.
“This work is designed to benefit infants and young children worldwide. Children born preterm, small for gestational age, or who face malnutrition, neglect, or other forms of adversity are at risk for delayed, impaired, or sub-optimal neurodevelopment,” said Dr. Khan Siddiqui, chief medical officer and chief strategy officer at Hyperfine, Inc. “This investment will fill a critical role in providing an affordable, scalable method for directly evaluating the efficacy of interventions to improve infant and child health and neurodevelopment.”
With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, Hyperfine, Inc. continues to strive towards a world where MR imaging is a standard care for everyone. Through its groundbreaking Swoop Portable MR Imaging system and philanthropic research partnerships, the company is leading a global health revolution—one brain scan at a time—with the goal of making such critical technology a standard part of care rather than a privilege.
We invite you to explore our website to learn more about the benefits of the Swoop Portable MR Imaging system.