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The National Health Service in the UK has reported the formation of three new biomedical research units which it said will be at the forefront of a 10 million drive to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such as heart disease, asthma and obesity.

The new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) biomedical research units — to be located in Liverpool, London and Nottingham — will focus on "translational research" that will take advances in basic medical research out of the laboratory and into the hospital clinic. The NHS said this means that patients will benefit more quickly from new scientific breakthroughs.

Each of the new units will receive 3.4 million over the next four years.

NHS said that the new units will complement the existing twelve NIHR biomedical research units in Bristol, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield and Southampton, and the 12 NIHR biomedical research centers in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

"People who suffer from illnesses such as heart disease, gastrointestinal infections and pancreatic disease will really benefit from these new NIHR biomedical research units," said Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo. "The new funding will enable high quality research to flourish in these small but excellent research groups and will strengthen our drive to put the UK at the forefront of vital health research, as well as enhancing the nation's international reputation as a center for excellence."

iCad SecondLook now available in Europe

iCAD (Nashua, New Hampshire), a provider of computer-aided detection (CAD) solutions, reported that its SecondLook Digital CAD technology, customized for use with Sectra's (Link ping, Sweden) MicroDose Mammography system, is now available throughout Europe.

"Adding the benefits of iCAD's technology to Sectra's digital mammography systems enhances the screening mammography experience exponentially for the radiologist," said Dr. Jean-Claude Piguet from ImageRive, the official and exclusive institution of postgraduate studies for the Universite de Geneve in Switzerland.

He added: "Sectra's Photon-Counting Technology provides a clearer, easier-to-read image due to high resolution, high DQE and low electronic noise. When coupled with iCAD's SecondLook Digital CAD to identify areas of interest for closer consideration, the solution significantly improves workflow and increases the detection of cancer."

iCAD has received CE mark marketing approval of customized solution with Sectra's mammography systems.

"The availability of our CAD technology with Sectra solutions throughout Europe is a milestone in iCAD's business strategy outside the U.S.," said Ken Ferry, president/CEO of iCAD.

Sectra develops IT-systems and products for radiology, mammography and orthopedic departments.

CAD use in Italian cancer screening effort

About 26,000 residents within Italy's Piemonte region will be involved in its Prot us project, described as the first program in the world to use CAD to screen patients for colon cancer, part of the Italian province's cancer prevention efforts.

Prot us will feature the use of CAD-COLON, a diagnostic system developed as the result of more than 6 years of interdisciplinary medical and scientific research conducted by im3D — Medical Imaging Lab (Torino, Italy), together with its clinical and scientific partners.

The program is being launched in Torino and will allocate 14.7 million ($7.5 million) over two years to test the CAD as a primary screening protocol.

Prot us is sponsored by the Region of Piemonte, im3D, the University of Torino (through its Interdepartmental Center for Molecular Biotechnology and the Department of Medical Surgery Disciplines — Radiology section), the Center for Epidemiology and Oncology Prevention and CIS Piemonte. The program emphasizes the use of technological innovation applied to prevention.

The experimental screening program is hoping to confirm the diagnostic performance levels already obtained within preliminary studies using CAD-COLON, which have primarily addressed its sensitivity and specificity, im3D said.

Verification of the methodology means that it can then be applied to large-scale screening projects as well as to other pathologies.

Neurometrix gets CE mark for Advance

NeuroMetrix (Waltham, Massachusetts) reported that it has completed the CE technical file for its Advance system. With this regulatory step, NeuroMetrix intends to begin marketing Advance to neurologists, clinical neurophysiologists, hand surgeons, and other specialists in the EU.

NeuroMetrix says that Advance is a platform for the performance of traditional nerve conduction studies and needle electromyography procedures. The technical specifications include a precision electrical stimulator and dual recording channels for acquiring nerve conduction responses. A third channel is available for recording needle electromyography signals.

The company said the system introduces several important technological improvements. These include a small enclosure and power from a high capacity lithium-ion battery, making use of the device convenient in many environments.

The amplification and digitization hardware is embedded in the cable connector thereby providing digital signal transmission from the recording electrodes to the device. This technology reduces susceptibility to electrical interference and makes the device suitable for all settings, even challenging applications such as nerve function assessment in intensive care units, the company said.

The device is designed around a high-resolution color touch screen that facilitates real-time review and editing of nerve conduction waveforms. Integrated Bluetooth provides wireless communication with data management and report generation servers. This wireless link also enables expansion of system capabilities with the introduction of modules in the future.

"Now that we have the CE mark for Advance, we look forward to marketing this innovative product into the United Kingdom in the third quarter, and more broadly by the end of the year through additional European distribution partners, said Shai Gozani, MD, PhD, president/CEO of NeuroMetrix.

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