Mumbai– Hemex Health, a Portland, Oregon-based health-tech startup, announced a significant enhancement to their Gazelle Hb Variant test, which allows for more precise measurements of Hb F, also known as fetal hemoglobin. The increased accuracy could be useful for monitoring hydroxyurea therapy in point-of-care settings.
The software upgrade comes just months after the company released an enhancement that
allows its Hb Variant test to detect beta thalassemia disease and trait in addition to sickle cell
disease (SCD) and trait.
“We are excited to make this announcement on World Thalassemia Day to help raise awareness
for severe blood disorders,” said Patti White, CEO, Hemex Health. “Gazelle continues to deliver
unprecedented capability to populations with a high prevalence of sickle cell and beta
thalassemia. In addition to this Hb F measurement improvement, additional features are planned
for Gazelle that will improve healthcare for sickle cell and beta thalassemia patients who have not
had access to this level of testing.”
In a clinical study conducted at the pediatric SCD Clinic of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra,
Ghana, Gazelle’s Hb F quantification results were within 4.5% of HPLC Hb F results (the gold
standard) with a 95% confidence range. The results of this study will be presented at an
international conference this June and will also be published in a peer-reviewed journal later this
Hydroxyurea has been used to treat adult sickle cell patients since the 1980s and was recently
approved for children by the US FDA. According to the NIH’s National Library of Medicine journal,
The drug has been shown to increase Hb F production in patients with the effect of fewer pain
crises and hospital stays. Hydroxyurea usage is also starting in India, Africa, and the Middle East.
“Part of the monitoring protocol for patients on hydroxyurea involves tracking changes in Hb F
levels over time,” said Dr. Catherine Segbefia, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana. “Having
this capability at the point of care with Gazelle’s Hb Variant test will allow greater access to this
therapy especially for those living in remote areas.”
Unlike lab tests, which require expensive equipment and carry a high cost per test, the Gazelle
Reader costs about the same as an iPhone, testing costs only a few dollars and results are available