• Archus Orthopedics (Redmond, Washington) reported the first human use of its facet replacement technology to complement an artificial disc. Artificial discs are implanted in patients whose natural disc has degenerated over time, resulting in chronic back pain. Historically, these patients have been treated by spine fusion surgery. Disc replacement surgery has demonstrated equivalent clinical benefit and has the added advantage of restoring normal motion to the spine. The company's first product, the Total Facet Arthroplasty System, has been successfully implanted, and is being evaluated in the U.S. in an FDA-approved IDE clinical trial.

• Brennen Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) reported the nationwide availability of its XenMatriX for soft-tissue reconstruction. XenMatriX is designed for use in the treatment of abdominal wall (hernia) repair where the connective tissue has ruptured. XenMatriX uses a technology that maintains an acellular, structurally intact, non-crosslinked porcine dermal matrix for enhanced biocompatibility in host tissue. This non-crosslinked dermal matrix supports tissue revascularization, remodeling and regeneration for abdominal wall and hernia repairs. The compatibility and strength of this material minimizes hernia recurrence and pain, which also minimizes expense for both the patient and the healthcare environment.

• Datascope (Montvale, New Jersey) said it will sponsor a 300-patient, randomized clinical trial in high-risk acute myocardial infarction (MI) patients who are not in cardiogenic shock to show the efficacy of intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IAB) in reducing infarct size. Patients enrolled in the CRISP AMI trial will be randomized equally to usual care vs. usual care plus intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IABC) therapy prior to percutaneous coronary intervention. The primary efficacy endpoint will be a 25% reduction in infarct size due to IABC utilization. IABC therapy is currently the gold standard for a variety of clinical indications. It is a Class I indication for cardiogenic shock in the ACC/AHA guidelines.

• deCODE genetics (Reykjavik, Iceland) reported the launch of deCODE BreastCancer, a new tool for assessing risk of the common forms of breast cancer. The deCODE BreastCancer test measures seven widely replicated single-letter variations (SNPs) in the human genome that deCODE and others have linked to risk of breast cancer. These SNPs contribute to the incidence of an estimated 60% of all breast cancers. The test integrates data from discovery and replication studies published in major peer-reviewed journals and involving nearly 100,000 breast cancer patients and healthy volunteers from many populations, principally of European descent.Women taking the test will receive a numerical score representing their relative risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime compared to that of the general population as well as their personal lifetime risk.

• Swearingen Software (Houston) said it has released and installed RISynergy version 5.2 at several client facilities. This version introduces a more modern interface, and provides new features, including: patient allergy capabilities, user messaging system, new manager's worklist, new transcriptionist worklist, transcription report addendums, national mammography database registry data transmission module, and mammography history PDF form capability.

• Ziehm Imaging (Nuremberg, Germany) and BrainLAB (Munich) have developed the Ziehm NaviPort 3D interface for X-ray based navigation for spinal and trauma surgery. The new interface brings together the mobile 3-D C-arms from Ziehm Imaging and the computer-assisted Fluoro-3-D-navigation from BrainLAB. The companies said patients could benefit from less-invasive treatment and a reduced exposure dose. They said this solution is "extremely versatile within a clinical environment." Its operative range includes orthopedic, trauma, spinal and craniomaxillofacial surgery. The NaviPort 3-D is immediately available.