• ContextVision (Stockholm, Sweden) has introduced the GOPiCE US, a real-time volumetric filtering software for ultrasound. The image enhancement product filters the three-dimensional ultrasound volumes, removing speckle and other artifacts, while simultaneously extends the clinician's vision to planes previously hidden. Like all ContextVision products, GOPiCE US relies on an adaptive algorithm, GOP, which mimics the human eye's method of finding information and analyzing structures. This enables the software to distinguish between true and false information (e.g. noise, artifacts) and accurately identify true structures.

• DePuy Spine (Raynham, Massachusetts) said it has begun testing of a genetically engineered human protein in patients with moderate to severe low back pain. The first in a series of clinical studies evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the protein, intradiscal rhGDF-5 (recombinant human growth and differentiation factor-5), began at Texas Back Institute (Plano). The study outcomes will evaluate if injections of rhGDF-5 into the lower spine can relieve pain and slow or even reverse early stage degenerative disc disease. The study consists of patients who have had persistent discogenic back pain for at least three months at one symptomatic lumbar level from L3/L4 to L5/S1 and who have not responded to conservative medical treatment such as physical therapy. Clinical outcomes will be measured using standard validated tools and lumbar disc changes will be measured using magnetic resonance imaging data.

• Invitrogen (Carlsbad, California) reported the launch of the GIBCO OptiCHO Protein Express Kit, an integrated solution for development of serum-free, stable cell lines for biotherapeutic development. This kit provides cells banked under cGMP conditions, enabling biotherapeutics manufacturers to speed regulatory submissions and time to market. The GIBCO OptiCHO Protein Express Kit enables biotherapeutics manufacturers to develop stable cell lines where proteins of therapeutic interest can be expressed and reproduced. It uses all of the reagents, protocols and documentation required to go from gene to stable cell clones expressing the protein of interest within a completely serum-free process. All of the products within the workflow are animal-origin free, which supports biomanufacturers' ability to enhance the safety of human therapeutics.

• Medtronic (Minneapolis) began the international launch of the Driver Sprint RX Coronary Stent System, which received the CE Mark in February 2009 and is planned to be commercially available in more than 100 countries worldwide. The new system incorporates a new tip design for a low profile and an enhanced shaft design which together greatly improve the device's deliverability. These innovations are also incorporated in Medtronic's Endeavor Sprint and Resolute Drug-Eluting Stent Systems.

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