(From the December 2016 issue of Research Now)
Irina A. Buhimschi, director of the Center for Perinatal Research in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was one of four recipients of the 2016 Patents for Humanity award from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in November in Washington, D.C. Dr. Buhimschi was recognized as the inventor, along with GestVision, Inc., for developing a quick, simple diagnostic test for preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication, for use in developing regions.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific disorder that is a leading cause of maternal and fetal complications and deaths worldwide, and the World Health Organization estimates that 99% of preeclampsia-related deaths occur in low- and mid-income countries. Although most cases of maternal death are preventable, it is estimated that approximately 63,000 women die annually due to preeclampsia alone. Childbirth is currently the only known remedy for preeclampsia, but early diagnosis allows physicians to monitor patients for spikes in blood pressure, to put at-risk women on bedrest and prepare for induced early delivery if necessary.
Patents for Humanity is an awards competition recognizing innovators who use game-changing technology to meet global humanitarian challenges. The program provides business incentives for reaching those in need, and winners receive an acceleration certificate to expedite select proceedings at the USPTO, as well as public recognition of their work. The awards showcase how patent holders with vision are pioneering innovative ways to provide affordable, scalable, and sustainable solutions for the less fortunate.