Press Releases

LA BioMed’s Research to Improve Heart Disease Screening in Newborns Given Boost from Federal Grant

LOS ANGELES (June 20, 2018) – A researcher from LA BioMed has been awarded $688,013 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to improve newborn infant screening.  The proposal by Rie Sakai-Bizmark, MD, PhD, MPH is entitled “Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease in U.S.:  Assessment of implementation obstacles and application of cost-effectiveness to gauge if action needed for improved implementation.”

Hundreds of babies die each year from undiagnosed Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD).

“Understanding obstacles to screenings and accurate diagnosis can help save the lives of hundreds of newborns each year,” Sakai-Bizmark said. “As a physician and a mother, I believe it’s critically important to ensure every baby born in the U.S. is properly screened for heart disease.”

A quarter of newborns with CCHD are discharged from hospitals without a diagnosis, and about 40 percent of such babies die due to late or missed diagnoses. Moreover, false positives can result in unnecessary follow-up and parental anxiety. Although screening protocols are required shortly after birth, recent studies show only one-third of hospitals adhered to the recommended.  The project will evaluate why screenings aren’t done, obstacles that prevent accurate screenings, and how screenings that are done can be more effective.

“Dr. Sakai-Bizmark is rapidly become a nationally respected leader in her field,” said LA BioMed CEO David Meyer, PhD. “Her work investigating CCHD has the potential to save lives and fulfills LA BioMed’s mission of leading health care innovation and serving the underserved.”

About Rie Sakai-Bizmark

Rie Sakai-Bizmark, MD, PhD, MPH, is an LA BioMed researcher. Born and raised in Japan, she has trained at Harvard School of Public Health and the Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan. She has expertise in biostatistics and econometrics, which she has integrated with her clinical experience as a pediatrician. Dr. Sakai-Bizmark is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

About LA BioMed

LA BioMed is an incubator of innovation with a global reach and a 66-year reputation of improving and saving lives. Driven by the positive social impacts of breakthrough therapies, the Southern California-based research institute and incubator – with over 100 principal investigators (PhDs, MDs and MD/PhDs) working on over 600 research studies, including therapies for multiple orphan diseases – is an essential element to one of the nation’s top-ten biotech clusters. Find out more at

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