By National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Approximately 50,000 infants per year (961 per week) are born at less than 28 weeks of gestation in the US. Cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness, and/or mental retardation are present in up to 50% of surviving extremely preterm infants at school age. Perinatal care costs for these infants exceed US$18 billion every year. The burden of extreme prematurity to each patient and to society is further magnified by the years of productive life lost. New therapies are needed to improve these outcomes.
Recombinant human erythropoietin (Epo) is a promising novel neuroprotective agent. Epo decreases neuronal programmed cell death resulting from brain injury; it has anti-inflammatory effects, increases neurogenesis, and protects oligodendrocytes from injury.
We hypothesize that neonatal Epo treatment of ELGANs will decrease the combined outcome of death or severe NDI from 40% to 30% (primary outcome), or the combined outcome of death plus moderate or severe NDI from 60% to 40% (secondary outcome) measured at 24-26 months corrected age.