A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The Immune Tolerance Institute (ITI; San Francisco) and Sequenom (San Diego) reported a collaboration to develop an advanced newborn screening test for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) based on the pioneering work of Jennifer Puck, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

A successful feasibility study was recently completed demonstrating the adaptability of Puck's RT-PCR screening assay for SCID diagnosis on the MassARRAY platform developed by Sequenom.

"This collaboration goes to the very heart of ITI's mission by bringing together the best of industry and academia in order to solve a complex medical problem," said Louis Matis, ITI president/CEO. "Severe combined immunodeficiency is curable by bone marrow transplantation if it is detected early. The goal of our collaboration is to make newborn screening for this rare but deadly disease a reality and alleviate the terrible suffering for these infants and their families."

"We are very pleased to collaborate with the Immune Tolerance Institute, UCSF and Dr. Puck to significantly improve outcomes for newborns afflicted with devastating SCID," said Harry Stylli, PhD, president/CEO of Sequenom. "This application is reflective of the broad applicability of our MassARRAY system and is in line with our goal of increasing Sequenom's reach in the field of molecular diagnostics."

"Although universal newborn screening for metabolic conditions is well established, screening for immune disorders is new," said Puck, a professor in the department of pediatrics and the Institute for Human Genetics at UCSF, and program director of the Pediatric Clinical Research Center within the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

She added, "Immunologists and public health professionals have recognized the value of SCID screening, but a high-throughput, sensitive, specific and cost-effective test is needed. This collaboration between UCSF, ITI and Sequenom is an ideal way to translate my laboratory research on T-cell receptor excision circles into the clinic."

In other agreements/contracts news:

• Premier Purchasing Partners (San Diego) reported new agreements in three categories: diagnostic and interventional radiology, peripheral and biliary stents and electrophysiology.

In the diagnostic and interventional radiology portfolio, contracts were awarded to Bard Peripheral Vascular (Tempe, Arizona); Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts); and Cook Medical (Bloomington, Indiana).

In the peripheral and biliary stents portfolio, contracts were awarded to Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois); Boston Scientific and ev3 Endovascular (Plymouth, Minnesota).

Effective Jan. 1, the 13-month agreements are available to acute-care and continuum-of-care members of the Premier healthcare alliance.

For electrophysiology products, the company signed deals with the Bard Electrophysiology Division of C. R. Bard (Lowell, Massachusetts) and Boston Scientific.

Effective Dec. 1, 2008, the 36-month agreements are available to acute-care and continuum-of-care members of the Premier healthcare alliance.

• Cambridge Research & Instrumentation (CRi; Woburn, Massachusetts) and VisEn Medical (Bedford, Massachusetts) said that they have signed a non-exclusive agreement to enable CRi to distribute VisEn's portfolio of fluorescent imaging agents and labels in North America.

"Bringing VisEn's fluorescent in vivo agents and labels to our Maestro multispectral fluorescence imaging system customers now expands the breadth of research for them, and for CRi," said George Abe, CRi's president/CEO.

Aspyra (Calabasas, California) reported that it has entered into an agreement with Diamond Reference Laboratory (DRL; Diamond Bar, California), an independent clinical reference laboratory, to upgrade the lab's existing Laboratory Information System (LIS) to the most current release of Aspyra's CyberLAB LIS solution, version 7.2, as well as implement the company's CyberPATH Anatomic Pathology module.

DRL has been an Aspyra LIS customer since 1989. The full-service, CLIA accredited laboratory currently serves the southern California area, distributing clinical results electronically to its growing client base.

Abbas Rajaee, owner of Diamond Reference Laboratory said, "In today's changing economy and tough competitive market, laboratories are hard pressed to maintain their current market with the changes in the health environment through collaboration and with the teamwork of our clients. For over 20 years, Aspyra has provided us the tools sets and service we need to remain competitive. We look forward to using the new version of CyberLAB to further advance our services."

"DRL provides added service to its clients by enabling access and quick turnaround of clinical results electronically, when and how they need them. In addition to the automated report distribution module within CyberLAB, DRL also has patient result data transmit from the LIS to their client's third party practice management systems," said Michelle Del Guercio, Aspyra's director of marketing and product management. "DRL will continue to improve workflow efficiencies with the latest release of CyberLAB 7.2, with features such as advanced automated result processing functions, which also reduce human error and improve turnaround."

DRL has also purchased the Aspyra CyberPATH Anatomic Pathology module, to automate the pathology and cytology workflow and reporting within the laboratory.