• Applied Biosystems (Carlsbad, California) reported the introduction of a new line of genotyping assays that enable researchers to more closely study the significant role that DNA copy number structural variation plays in human health and disease. The TaqMan Copy Number Assays are designed to detect and quantify copy number variations (CNVs), which are one of the most frequently occurring forms of structural change within a genome. These assays will enable pharmaceutical, clinical and academic researchers to accurately detect CNVs, which are changes in the number of copies of a gene, a part of a gene, or a large stretch of DNA that occur throughout a genome.

• Atherotech (Birmingham, Alabama) reported the addition of apolipoprotein A (apoAI) to its VAP Cholesterol Test. The VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) Test is the only single cholesterol test that routinely reports apoAI, apoB, and the apoB/apoAI ratio. With the addition of this new marker, the VAP Test now reports apoAI and the apoB/apoAI ratio, increasing its clinical utility in the assessment of risk for heart disease, diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. The new, clinically validated heart disease risk marker is included with the VAP cholesterol test. ApoAI is the main protein component of protective HDL cholesterol while apolipoprotein BI00 (apoB) particles are the main component of atherogenic (bad) LDL cholesterol. In general, the lower the apoB/apoAI value, the lower your risk for heart disease. A ratio of 1 to 2 is considered low risk, while a ratio approaching 1 to 1 would be considered high risk, and anything over that — where the small LDL particles would dominate — would be very high risk.

• ExonHit Therapeutics (Paris) reported the publication in Lancet Oncology of a study conducted by Institut Gustave Roussy, which describes the identification of a deregulated cell function in breast cancer through the analysis of alternative RNA splicing. Study data demonstrate that exons are differently expressed in malignant and benign lesions, and alternative transcripts determine the molecular characteristics of breast malignancy. "We are very happy to report that this independent study demonstrates the clinical usefulness of our SpliceArray platform. It constitutes another example of its many possible applications," said Loic Maurel, president of the management board of ExonHit Therapeutics. SpliceArray biochips are ExonHit's proprietary research tools. They quantify mRNA expression at the exon level. They also provide a comprehensive RNA splicing analysis across the entire human genome and enable the identification of known splice variants as well as the detection of variants which have not yet been discovered or cataloged.

• GE Healthcare (Wauwatosa, Wisconsin) reported the introduction of its latest ECG (electrocardiogram) solution, the portable MAC 800, based on cell phone technology. Targeting physician's offices and the pharmaceutical industry, GE's entry into the portable ECG market is as practical as it is innovative. MAC 800 has the features of a full size, 65-pound ECG device, engineered down to less than seven pounds, battery included. The unit's integrated carrying handle enables clinicians to carry it like a briefcase, expanding access to care, regardless of patient location, the company said. Its lithium ion battery keeps it running for roughly two hours and a quick, four-hour recharge ensures minimal downtime.

• Prometheus Laboratories (San Diego) said it has received New York State approval for Prometheus IBS Diagnostic, the first and only blood test for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This novel test incorporates 10 biomarkers, two of which are proprietary, along with a proprietary algorithm to help physicians diagnose patients with IBS. The Prometheus IBS diagnostic testing is performed at the company's CLIA-certified laboratory in San Diego. Blood samples are collected and shipped overnight to Prometheus, after which test results are generally reported back to physicians within two to three days.

A report in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology/Biology/Physics showed that the use of 3-D ultrasound with the Clarity Breast System, made by Resonant Medical (Montreal, Canada), provided enhanced image information to enable radiation oncologists to better define the treatment region when delivering partial breast irradiation treatment (PBI) for breast cancer. The Clarity Breast System marks the first application of 3-D ultrasound technology to Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT). In addition to its application with treatment planning, the Clarity System is also used to image the lumpectomy cavity daily with each radiation treatment, to get an actual visual image and location of the tumor cavity on a regular basis. Clarity provides the first method of daily lumpectomy cavity monitoring that is based on visualization of the actual anatomy—rather than an estimation of the location of the cavity.

• Sunquest Information Systems (Tucson, Arizona) has received FDA clearance for the newest edition of its Sunquest Blood Bank software application. The new version incorporates enhanced functionality for patient safety and is a key component of Sunquest's integrated closed-loop blood-administration system. Blood Bank is integrated with Sunquest's positive patient ID specimen collection and transfusion management components. Customers report that collection and administration errors are reduced to zero when using the system and workflow-process improvements expedite the time to diagnosis and treatment by decreasing the sample-collection and result reporting turnaround times.

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