• Caliper Life Sciences (Hopkinton, Massachusetts) has launched the Zephyr Genomics Workstation, an automation solution for molecular biology applications. The inclusion of pre-installed methods for reagent kits from numerous suppliers enables first-time automation users to improve quality, consistency, throughput, and return on investment, thereby removing critical sample preparation bottlenecks in workflows for next generation sequencing, microRNA analysis, genotyping, and gene expression studies. The Zephyr Genomics Workstation includes pre-installed methods for automating many widely used nucleic acid purification chemistries, as well as standard Caliper methods for routine applications such as PCR setup and sample normalization.

• Diagnosoft (Morrisville, North Carolina) reported its newest software solution, Diagnosoft SENC. Strain-encoding, or SENC, is a new MRI analysis technique that will help physicians measure regional contraction, or relaxation, of the heart's myocardium. Diagnosoft SENC enables quantification of data to improve diagnosis and guide monitoring and treatment of coronary artery disease. Nael Osman, co-founder of Diagnosoft, said, "Diagnosoft SENC provides an objective way to assess regional variations in muscle contraction due to ischemia, myocardial infarction, or other causes. Moreover, Diagnosoft SENC produces maps of regional function with high spatial resolution at a level of quality sufficient even for the thin wall of the right ventricle. As a result, the technique can reveal small regional anomalies in contractility within the wall." Most cardiac MRI procedures require patients to hold their breath. However, SENC images can be acquired in a fraction of a second, mapping regional function with unprecedented speed, so it can be used in combination with tests and maneuvers that allow patients to breathe normally. That means SENC is suitable for stress testing of cardiac function, as well as other diagnostic tests.

• Labcyte (Sunnyvale, California) reported the introduction of the new Deerac Q which integrates two liquid-handling systems into a single platform for preparing low-volume genomic assays. By combining the Deerac magnetic feedback control dispensing technology with a 96-channel pipettor with disposable tips, the Deerac Q saves time, reduces process risks, and eliminates the need to transfer plates between workstations.

• Lenetix (Mineola, New York) reported a significant step in the development of an improved first and second trimester non-invasive fetal chromosomal screening test to detect Down syndrome and other genetic fetal conditions. Lenetix said that preliminary study results indicate a potential breakthrough in testing quality and accuracy while preserving the safety of mother and fetus. The maternal serum test made by uses methylation-sensitive amplification (MSA) of fetal nucleic acid markers. In the preliminary studies, more than ten clinical plasma specimens of various ethnicities provided by clinical partners were tested with clinical partners using the MSA approach.

• Medusa Medical Technologies (Halifax. Nova Scotia) said its electronic patient care reporting software, the Siren ePCR Suite, now has an interface with the Philips HeartStart MRx monitor/defibrillator. Siren ePCR Suite is a patient care reporting system. It helps paramedics to administer care while recording critical patient data that they transmit in real-time to receiving facilities. Siren ultimately improves data accuracy by downloading data from the HeartStart MRx directly into the tablet PC software, including ECG, vitals, treatments, and events. This system helps to support a decrease of discovery-to-treatment times by enabling the patient's care to be evaluated and treatment to be given en route to the hospital.

• OraSure Technologies (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) said that the FDA has approved its request for 12-month shelf life from the date of manufacture for its OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test. The FDA approval is based on enhancements made by OraSure to the manufacturing process and product packaging of its OraQuick Advance test, and represents a six-month increase in shelf life versus current product available on the market. OraQuick Avance is a rapid point-of-care test that can detect antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 in 20 minutes, using oral fluid, finger-stick or venipuncture whole blood or plasma specimens.

• Polymedco (Cortlandt Manor, New York) reported the launch of the BTA stat test. The test is a point-of-care technology for the early detection of recurrent bladder cancer. This method uses monoclonal antibodies to detect the presence of bladder tumor associated antigen in urine. It is a single-step, rapid immunochromatographic assay for bladder tumor-associated antigen in voided urine. The specificity of the BTA stat test was 93% to 95% in patients with non-genitourinary diseases and cancers and healthy individuals tested as part of a multi-center study.

• Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, California) and BrainLAB (Munich, Germany) reported the introduction of the Novalis Tx platform which enables doctors to perform image-guided radiosurgery on tumors of the lung, as well as of the brain, spine, liver, and prostate, without making a single incision. Novalis Tx performs stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), a form of non-invasive radiosurgery that uses precisely-shaped and targeted radiation beams to treat tumors and non-malignant growths from outside the body. The Novalis uses a linear accelerator, which rotates around the patient to target surgical beams at tumors from virtually any angle. A set of sophisticated image guidance and motion management tools provide clinicians with detailed information about the shape, size, and position of the targeted lesion, guide patient set up and positioning, and monitor motion during treatment.

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