NEC is a leading cause of death in infants born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or born with a low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds). NEC may be linked to a reduced exposure to amniotic fluid as a result of premature birth (Hackam, D.J. and Sodhi, C.P. (2018). There is no cure for this disease and there has been no change in its mortality rate in 30 years. What’s more, the population most at risk for NEC continues to increase, as technological advances have improved the neonatal care of very low birth weight infants.
Approximately 480,000 infants are born preterm each year in the U.S.—all at increased risk for NEC. The percentage of very low birth weight infants who develop NEC remains steady at about 7% (source: www.nichd.nih.gov).
Because ST266 is made from selected and cultured amnion epithelial cells, it may provide many of the same benefits as amniotic fluid. Preclinical studies are underway to investigate the potential role of ST266 in helping prevent the onset of NEC and/or accelerate its recovery.