A Medical Device Daily

A broad consortium of private and public sector organizations, led by GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, UK), has secured HUF 895 million ($4.2 million) from the Hungarian government to research and develop new ways of monitoring the health of elderly citizens in their own homes.

GE Healthcare said it would invest an additional HUF 238 million ($1.1 million) in the collaborative research program.

Bringing together the expertise of healthcare companies with leading academic institutions in Hungary, the three-year program will involve the development of integrated systems and processes for the remote monitoring of the health of elderly citizens, particularly those who suffer from neurological diseases such as stroke, dementia and depression.

The consortium also will research and develop remote telemonitoring systems which monitor both activity levels and vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate, alerting caregivers to changes that may signal potential health issues or emergency situations.

The consortium, led by GE Healthcare, includes Hungarian healthcare industry members Mednet 2000 and Meditech, together with the University of Pannonia at Veszprem, the University of Szeged and the Budapest Tech Polytechnical Institution.

The consortium will employ 71 researchers and associates, and will create 23 new jobs in Hungary.

Welcoming the program, Dr. Károly Molnar, minister for research, science and innovation in Hungary, said, "This program offers an important opportunity for Hungary to take part in the development of innovative technologies to help older people. The rapidly aging population of Europe, including that of Hungary, requires new research to enable elderly citizens to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, as this is a really cost-efficient form of delivering healthcare."

He added that the Hungarian government is providing financial support to help the implementation of new ideas in the field of integrated homecare "because enhancing the security of the elderly is fully in line with the government's economic development strategy.

"We are confident that the members of the consortium – the global company GE, two Hungarian companies and three Hungarian universities – will be able to develop new info-communications tools and technologies that can be marketed not only in Hungary, but also in Europe and other countries worldwide in the future."

Omar Ishrak, president/CEO of GE Healthcare's Clinical Systems business, said, "Demographic changes such as growing aging populations present enormous healthcare challenges in the care of elderly citizens and the prevention and management of chronic disease. The consortium members are looking forward to working together to drive innovation in this emerging area."

GE Healthcare noted that home healthcare is a key business focus for the company, which has a strategic relationship with Living Independently Group, a provider of passive monitoring systems used to assist in the care of the elderly. In March, GE Healthcare acquired VersaMed, a provider of portable critical care ventilators for respiratory care which can be used in the home setting.

GE began operating in Hungary in 1993.

Tissue Genesis system on market

Tissue Genesis (Honolulu, Hawaii), a developer of advanced tissue engineering and cell therapy solutions, reported that the Tissue Genesis Cell Isolation System will be available to the European marketplace, effective immediately.

The company said the system has successfully completed safety certification testing necessary to complete its declaration of conformity, allowing the company to apply the CE mark.

The Tissue Genesis Cell Isolation System is a fully automated system that recovers potentially regenerative cells from a patient's own fat in about an hour, with minimal operator intervention. No tissue pre-processing is required.

The system accepts adipose (fat) tissue from the same device used for liposuctioning the tissue from the patient. The compact, desktop-sized unit "readily fits into any clinical environment and uses preconfigured disposables for quick and easy assembly," the company said.

"The application of the CE mark on our cell isolation system is an exciting milestone and presents a tremendous opportunity for Tissue Genesis, as it represents further advancement into the international commercialization of our products and technology," said President/CEO Anton Krucky. "We look forward to continuing our research and development initiatives focused on applications that use a patient's own therapeutic cells to address a range of medical concerns."

The company said it expects to seek FDA approvals in the field of vascular disease for its point-of-care solution.

Bioheart (Sunrise, Florida) – a company focused on autologous cell therapies for the treatment of chronic and acute heart damage – recently ordered five systems for its European customers, which are expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

In addition to the Bioheart license and distribution agreement, SpineSmith – a developer of implants and biologics for surgical fixation, correction and tissue regeneration of the spine – recently provided two Tissue Genesis Cell Isolation Systems, expected to be used in a spinal fusion study.

Italian distributor signed by Itamar

Itamar Medical (Caesarea, Israel), a company developing noninvasive diagnostic systems using the Peripheral Arterial Tone (PAT) signal, has established a distribution agreement with EndoTech (Como, Italy) to bring Itamar's Endo-PAT2000, which it said is "the first simple, office-based diagnostic test for the assessment of endothelial function," to the Italian market.

EndoTech specializes in the distribution and launch of innovative medical instrumentation technologies in Italy, with particular knowledge and experience in the cardiovascular field.

Itamar said this partnership will allow it to reach new market and distribution goals for the Endo-PAT2000.

"We are thrilled to partner with EndoTech in our efforts to bring the Endo-PAT2000 to Italy," said Itamar President/CEO Israel Schreiber. "This new cooperative agreement paves the way for patients in Italy to get tested with the Endo-PAT2000, providing them with a comprehensive picture of their endothelial cell function, a critical factor in cardiac health."

The Endo-PAT2000 is a noninvasive device that measures endothelial function by using biosensors mounted on patients' fingers. These sensors measure minute changes in vascular tone using the PAT Signal.