Breast milk is often considered a “superfood” for babies; it contains the appropriate vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to support a baby’s growth and development (not to mention hormones and enzymes that promote maturation and digestion, and antibodies that help the baby resist infection!). It’s no wonder why breast milk is often referred to as “nature’s first health plan.”
Yet for infants born preterm (before 37 weeks gestation), or with certain health conditions, breast milk may not contain sufficient protein or provide enough energy. For these infants with increased nutritional needs, knowing the macronutrient content of the breast milk being provided could give vital information to the health care team and parents, allowing them to make informed decisions on how to fortify the breast milk based on the individual needs of the infant.
In December 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted marketing of the Miris Human Milk Analyzer (HMA) to Miris AB of Sweden. The Miris HMA uses an infrared spectroscopy system to analyze samples of human milk, and provides a quantitative measurement of fat, protein and total carbohydrate content, as well as calculations of the total solids and energy content contained in the milk. The prescription device is intended for use by trained health care personnel at clinical laboratories, providing healthcare professionals with a new tool to aid in the nutritional management of newborns and young infants at risk for growth failure due to prematurity or other medical conditions.
FDA reviewed the Miris HMA test through the De Novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for low-to-moderate-risk devices of a new type. Along with its granting, FDA established a list of special controls to provide for the accuracy and reliability of tests intended to measure the nutritional content of human milk to aid in the nutritional management of certain infants. These special controls, when met along with general controls, provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for tests of this type. As discussed in our previous blogs about the De Novo pathway, this action also creates a new regulatory classification; meaning subsequent devices of the same type and intended use may go through FDA’s 510(k) process.
Already on sale in over 25 countries worldwide, the Miris HMA is now available to analyze breast milk and guide the individual nutrition of preterm babies in the U.S. The new device supports Miris’ mission, “to make individual nutrition, based on human milk, available globally to improve neonatal health.” We’re excited to see a new device on the market that has the potential to help one of the most vulnerable patient populations. Go babies!