Press Releases Detail:
Avitar Included in $6.57 Million Federal Grant to Study Effects Of Methamphetamine Use During Pregnancy on Child Development
October 11, 2001
CANTON, Mass., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Avitar, Inc. (Amex: - news) today announced that it has been included in a $6.57 million grant from The National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the effects of methamphetamine use during pregnancy on child development. Avitar's wholly owned subsidiary, United States Drug Testing Laboratories (USDTL), will participate in the grant by conducting meconium testing on newborn infants.
The program, entitled ``Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and Child Outcome,'' is a five-year grant to the Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital and Brown Medical School and is the first large-scale study on that topic.
``We are pleased to be included in the grant for this first-of-its-kind study since it demonstrates the scientific expertise of Avitar's USDTL subsidiary and will enhance our reputation as experts in the field of toxicology,'' said Peter P. Phildius, Avitar's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. ``USDTL has been instrumental in developing several state-of-the-art methodologies for the detection of abused substances, including the only test for drugs and alcohol in meconium and one of the world's first oral fluid- based confirmation test for drugs-of-abuse, ORALconfirm(TM). It is an honor to be recognized for their accomplishments by being included in this prestigious group.''
In a previous news release, the study's Principal Investigator, Barry M. Lester, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, and Pediatrics, Brown Medical School and Director of the Infant Development Center, a collaboration between Women & Infants Hospital and Bradley Hospital, said, ``This study will enable us to advance our scientific understanding of this emerging problem and enhance our ability to develop appropriate interventions for these children and their families. This is a problem that needs to be addressed and the first step in that process is research. Methamphetamine is the only illicit drug that does not have a lower use rate for pregnant women than for non-pregnant women and may be more potent than cocaine.''
ABOUT THE STUDY
E.P. Bradley Hospital will administer the grant to six subcontracted sites: the University of Maryland in Baltimore, University of California in Los Angeles, University of Hawaii at Manoa (Kapi'olani Medical Center), University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, and the Iowa Health System in Des Moines. The sites will screen over 27,000 newborn infants in 9 hospitals.
The study has three goals: to determine the developmental consequences of prenatal methamphetamine exposure from birth to age 3; to describe the environmental characteristics of methamphetamine exposed children; and to determine how the drug and the environment affect the outcome of these children.
It is estimated that 11 percent of children in the United States live with at least one parent who is an alcoholic or illicit drug user. In 1999, the number of people who had tried methamphetamine was 4.3 million, an increase from 2.5 percent in 1997.
``The areas targeted for our research have a high prevalence of methamphetamine use among pregnant women,'' added Dr. Lester. ``This study will advance our scientific understanding of this emerging problem and enhance our ability to develop appropriate interventions for these children and their families.''
ABOUT MECONIUM TESTING
Meconium is the fecal matter comprising the first few bowel movements of a newborn child. Studies have shown that the detection of drugs or alcohol biomarkers in Meconium is indicative of usage by the mother up to the last twenty weeks of gestation. USDTL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Avitar, Inc., is the first company to develop a proprietary test that provides for an accurate, simultaneous measurement of drugs of abuse and alcohol biomarkers utilizing Meconium.
Avitar, Inc. (Amex: - news) headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts, is a diagnostics company that develops, manufactures and markets innovative and proprietary medical devices in two major areas: the oral fluid drugs-of-abuse market and the disease & clinical testing market. Oral fluid diagnostics includes both the drugs-of-abuse testing market estimated to be worth $1.5 billion encompassing the corporate workplace and criminal justice markets. Avitar's products include ORALscreen(TM), the world's first non-invasive, rapid, onsite oral fluid test for drugs-of-abuse, and HAIRscreen(TM), a laboratory-based hair test for detecting long-term drug abuse. In the $20 billion disease & clinical testing market, Avitar is currently developing products that will address the conditions of Lyme disease, influenza and diabetes, as well as pregnancy. For more information, see Avitar's website at avitarinc.com.
This release contains forward looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties including the development and marketing of new applications and other risks that are detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ingoldsby Investor Relations