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Prolacta Bioscience recognizes advances in preterm care during NICU awareness month

Premature infants in the NICU are surviving and thriving like never before thanks to advancements in neonatal nutrition

DUARTE, Calif. (Sept. 19, 2023) There have been incredible breakthroughs in neonatal care over the last decade, with premature infants born as early as 22 weeks now surviving and thriving. From heart rate monitoring to lung therapies, one of the biggest changes in the NICU has been how these fragile, premature infants are fed. This Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Awareness Month, Prolacta Bioscience® recognizes how proper care, including critical nutrition in the NICU — with 100% human milk-based nutrition — has improved the health and well-being of preterm infants.

Today, the world’s leading clinicians and NICUs offer Prolacta’s human milk-based nutritional products as the standard of care because they have been shown to reduce some of the most serious complications of prematurity. Compared to cow milk-based fortifiers, an Exclusive Human Milk Diet (EHMD) with Prolacta’s 100% human milk-based nutritional products has been clinically proven in multiple clinical studies to:

  • Lower mortality and morbidity1,2,3
  • Reduce incidence of feeding intolerance4
  • Achieve adequate growth5,6,7
  • Reduce incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)1,4,5,8
  • Reduce incidence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)1,4,8
  • Reduce late-onset sepsis incidence and evaluations1,8,9
  • Reduce risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)1,4,10,11
  • Improve long-term outcomes such as neurodevelopment12,13,14
  • Shorten stays in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)4,10
  • Reduce hospital costs4,10,15

Hospitals have been reporting for years on the benefits of Prolacta’s EHMD, which not only helps premature infants thrive but also helps NICUs save money — up to $3.4 million annually — by reducing comorbidities and getting babies home sooner.10

A May 2023 peer-reviewed report published in BMC Pediatrics underscores the clinical benefits and cost savings associated with the adoption of Prolacta’s EHMD. Based on real-world data from seven diverse NICUs, the study found:

  • Implementation of Prolacta’s EHMD resulted in a reduction in the total (medical and surgical) necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), regardless of the size or level of care of the NICU, as well as reductions in bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and late-onset sepsis — all common complications of prematurity.10
  • Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants fed Prolacta’s EHMD also experienced shorter NICU stays at five of the seven hospitals, savings ranging from $307,916 to $2,520,000 per institution annually.10
  • The study emphasizes that the cost of Prolacta’s EHMD represents a fraction of the usual cost of care for a VLBW infant — approximately $12,500 per infant for an EHMD over a 90-day NICU stay, compared to a total NICU cost of $693,000 to $774,000 for 90 days, depending on level of care.16,17
  • A reduction in length of stay has a sizable impact on total cost expenditure compared with the investment in an EHMD.10

“This study underscores that an EHMD reduces the risk of complications for preterm infants, which in turn saves costs for NICUs,” said lead author Jonathan R. Swanson, MD, MSc, of the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital in Charlottesville.

“NICU Awareness Month reminds us to take a step back and reflect upon how far we’ve come in neonatal care over the last decade. We should recognize the fact that something as fundamental as proper nutrition, such as using an EHMD in the NICU, can make all the difference in the lives of premature babies and their families,” said Melinda Elliott, MD, chief medical officer for Prolacta and a practicing neonatologist.

About Prolacta’s Human Milk-Based Nutritional Products

Available to hospitals since 2006, Prolacta’s human milk-based fortifiers changed the standard of care for critically ill, premature infants by providing a proven alternative to cow milk-based fortifiers in the NICU.2,3 ,11 The naturally occurring bioactive components in human milk are thought to support infants’ immunity, development, growth, and long-term health.18

Prolacta's products have the highest bioactivity in the human milk industry19 and are clinically proven to significantly boost human milk bioactive proteins and antioxidant activity.20 The company’s proprietary processing ensures pathogen inactivation and the highest level of safety while retaining as much of the natural bioactivity of the milk as possible, compared to other human milk processing methods.19,21,22

About Prolacta Bioscience

Prolacta Bioscience® Inc. is a privately held, global life sciences company dedicated to Advancing the Science of Human Milk® to improve the health of critically ill, premature infants. Prolacta’s 100% human milk-based nutritional products have been evaluated in more than 20 clinical studies published in peer-reviewed journals. More than 90,000 premature infants have benefited from Prolacta’s nutritional products worldwide to date.23 Established in 1999, Prolacta is the world’s leading provider of human milk-based nutritional products for hospital use and is also exploring the therapeutic potential of human milk across a wide spectrum of diseases. Prolacta maintains the industry’s strictest quality and safety standards for screening, testing, and processing donor human milk. Operating the world’s first pharmaceutical-grade human milk processing facilities, Prolacta uses vat pasteurization and a patented, FDA-reviewed manufacturing process to ensure pathogen inactivation while protecting the nutritional composition and bioactivity of its human milk-based products. Prolacta is a global company with headquarters in Duarte, California, and can be found online at, on X, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Media Contact:
Loren Kosmont


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  23. Data on file; estimated number of premature infants fed Prolacta’s products from January 2007 to December 2022.