• American Med Tech (Charles Town, West Virginia) said that it is offering "a specially assembled" home protection kit for swine flu, based on the germ-killing power of silver. "We spent the entire weekend assembling swine flu kits from existing inventory already boxed in pre-paid overnight FED-EX boxes," said David Phillips, PhD, company CEO. Additionally, Phillips said that the company has been selling its nano-silver-based hygiene products for the last fiive years. "Our silver ion based products were developed as a cure for the highly contagious skin disease Molluscum Contagioisum and to protect the delicate skin of diabetics. The problem with washing your hands with normal hand cleaners to kill swine flu virus is that they contain harsh chemicals. Your hands may be clean immediately after washing, but the harsh chemicals make your skin vulnerable to infections minutes afterward."

• Celera (Alameda, California) reported the presentation of data describing a novel mass spectrometry-based approach to identify and validate circulating protein biomarkers that detect non-small cell lung cancer. A key outcome of the study was the assembly of an immunoassay test for a panel of 6 biomarkers that detected lung cancer with 94% sensitivity and 93% specificity in a blinded analysis. In addition to detecting all stages of lung cancer studied and all major histological subtypes, the panel also accurately distinguished malignant cases from benign lung disease. "We believe these findings present an important development in our efforts to develop a robust method to detect lung cancer using a simple blood test," said Steve Ruben, PhD, VP of proteomics at Celera. "To this end, we have employed a novel mass spectrometry-based approach to finding biomarkers based on discovery from tumor tissues and tumor cell lines rather than from serum directly. This has allowed us to identify a collection of biomarkers which we have subsequently shown to be elevated in the blood of non-small cell lung cancer patients relative to appropriate controls."

• Dilon Technologies (Newport News, Virginia) reported that a study by Beth Israel Medical Center (New York) indicates that additional breast cancer was found in 9% of patients when Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) was used to complement mammography, improving surgical treatment. A total of 82 patients underwent BSGI for newly diagnosed breast cancer; of these, 18 had an additional abnormality, and 17 were biopsied. BSGI, a molecular breast imaging technique, is an adjunct to mammography that can see lesions independent of tissue density and discover early stage cancers. With BSGI, the patient receives a pharmaceutical tracing agent that is absorbed by all the cells in the body. Due to their increased rate of metabolic activity, cancerous cells in the breast absorb a greater amount of the tracing agent than healthy cells and appear as dark spots on the BSGI image. The Dilon 6800 Gamma Camera is a high-resolution, compact gamma camera, optimized to perform BSGI.

• NuGEN Technologies (San Carlos, California) said it has employed its Single Primer Isothermal Amplification (SPIA) technology to create a new line of products that offers life scientists a fast, simple, and low-cost solution for routine gene expression analysis. The first members in the Applause family include the WT-Amp ST and WT-Amp Plus ST RNA Amplification Systems, designed to prepare cDNA targets from >50 ng total RNA for analysis using Affymetrix GeneChip Gene ST or Exon ST arrays, respectively. The addition of Applause brand products expands the NuGEN portfolio which includes the company's flagship Ovation family of RNA amplification systems optimized for particularly small (down to a single cell) and degraded specimens. Applause products are specifically designed to address specimens in which RNA is more abundant (>50 ng) and intact, such as fresh-frozen tissue and cultured cells. This addition makes NuGEN's proprietary SPIA technology available for use with virtually all sample types for downstream microarray- or qPCR-based gene expression analysis, from small and degraded samples to larger and pristine samples.

• Quest Diagnostics (Madison, New Jersey) reported new insights into genetic factors affecting the accuracy and quality of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) carrier and newborn screening in three separate articles published in the May 2009 issue of The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. The research may enhance the accuracy of carrier and newborn screening for CF, a genetically inherited disease that damages the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. One in 29 Americans of Northern European Caucasian or Ashkenazi Jewish descent are symptomless carriers of the defective, or mutated, cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene. A child whose parents are both carriers has a one in four chance of developing the disease. Quest Diagnostics is a provider of pre- and post-natal and carrier genetic screening.

• RaySearch Laboratories' (Stockholm, Sweden) partner, Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), said that the new treatment planning solution, SmartArc, has received FDA clearance and has been introduced on the market. SmartArc is a solution for volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) treatment planning. Available as a module in Philips' Pinnacle3 version 9 radiation treatment planning software, the new planning option can be used with any VMAT-capable delivery system on the market. VMAT is an advanced form of IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) in which the treatment machine rotates around the patient while the treatment beam is on. The basic promise of VMAT delivery is to significantly reduce treatment time per patient compared with traditional IMRT. VMAT can benefit the patient by offering shorter treatment times, increased accuracy and better sparing of healthy tissue. Reduced treatment time results in decreased stress for patients and increased capacity for providers.

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