A Medical Device Daily

Immunetics (Boston) has received two new grants totaling $1.2 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) Advanced Technology program. The grants will support development of tests for antibiotic resistance in bacteria and for the parasitic agent of Chagas' disease, both emerging public health threats.

With the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, including MRSA, as an example currently receiving much attention, serious infections have become more challenging for hospitals to treat and to control.

The test under development by Immunetics will provide faster results than are available using current methods, as it is based on genetic information and does not require culturing bacteria for one or more days. Immunetics will be collaborating with Tufts Medical Center (Boston) and a Miami medical center under the new grant, which follows a previous $1.5 million grant supporting development of the bacterial test.

A second grant will support development of a confirmatory test for Chagas' disease, a parasitic infection which can be transmitted during blood transfusions. With the discovery of Chagas' disease cases in the U.S. resulting from transfusion with infected blood, organizations such as the American Red Cross (Washington) and other blood centers have begun to screen blood donations for antibodies to the parasite.

However, confirming a positive screening result requires a lengthy and complex follow-up test. Immunetics will develop a simpler and more rapid confirmatory test which can be carried out by any clinical or blood bank laboratory.

Immunetics develops assay technology for infectious disease diagnosis and pathogen detection, and says it has been an innovator of tests for bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases for more than 10 years.

In other grants/contracts news:

• Cantimer (Menlo Park, California) reported that it has been awarded a $996,000 contract by the U.S. government's Technical Support Working Group to develop a portable, real-time and non-invasive hydration measurement and monitoring device for use by firefighters and other first-responder personnel.

The United States Fire Administration (part of FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency) estimates that more than half of firefighter line-of-duty deaths result from cardiovascular events or heat illnesses.

Ensuring adequate pre-response hydration and on-scene re-hydration is an increasing area of focus for occupational medicine experts focused on the health, safety and performance of firefighters. Non-quantitative or observational hydration assessment techniques may not consistently ensure that all dehydrated and at-risk individuals are identified and get proper medical attention. Cantimer's quantitative approach is based on assessing the composition of a small sample of saliva, with a portable, hand-held device.

Cantimer is a privately held, development-stage company that makes sensor technology platforms with applications in life science, biodefense, environmental testing, point-of-care diagnostics and home health markets.

• BioForce Nanosciences Holdings (Ames, Iowa), a producer of integrated biological and mechanical systems for life-science researchers at the micro and nano scales, reported that it has signed a distribution agreement with NanoAndMore USA (Lady's Island, South Carolina), the North and South American distribution arm of NanoWorld Holding AG (Schaffhausen, Switzerland).

NanoAndMore USA joins its sister company, NanoAndMore, already a distributor of BioForce Nanosciences' products, in distributing these products.

Earlier this year, BioForce added two new items to its product line to support its flagship Nano eNabler molecular printer. First, it added the Cyto eNabler molecular printer, which is specifically configured for the needs of cellular biology researchers. Second, it added its custom patterned surfaces, which are produced to the specifications of the customer by our personnel using the Nano eNabler.

• Digital Defense (DDI; San Antonio), a provider of information security, assessment services and Software as a Service (SaaS) Security Compliance solutions, reported that STAR Anesthesia had renewed its service contract for Frontline Vulnerability Lifecycle Management (VLM). STAR Anesthesia will continue utilizing Frontline VLM on an on-demand basis to manage the security posture of the organization's computing networks under the terms of this extended agreement.

Frontline VLM supports several assessment service types including host discovery, vulnerability scanning, and penetration testing. The results of these automated and analyst-assisted assessment services, channeled into a common workflow management solution, are available online or in numerous types of downloadable reports. Additionally, the solution allows organizations to assign business risk levels to computing devices connected to their IP networks. By associating risk with the security posture of each device, an organization can better manage the priorities of their IT resources, reducing operational expenses and risk of compromise to information assets.

Digital Defense offers a comprehensive set of security assessment solutions to healthcare organizations and other companies regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), including, but not limited to, vulnerability scanning, penetration tests, and web application testing. Its service offerings help organizations protect critical information such as electronic patient records and provide extensive reporting to address security compliance requirements.