A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, Massachusetts) has reported an alliance between its Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and George Mason University's (Fairfax, Virginia) Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM; Manassas, Virginia) to accelerate biomarker validation and forge new breakthroughs in early disease diagnosis.

Biomarkers are biochemical features or facets that can signal the progression or risk of disease, as well as the potential effectiveness of certain treatments.

A key challenge in biomarker research has been independent validation of experimental results, critical to acceptance of findings across the research community. The alliance between Thermo Fisher and CAPMM will overcome this challenge by creating a "cross-validation" workflow between the BRIMS and the George Mason University laboratory to provide fast biomarker validation. Both labs will use identical Thermo Scientific Quantum Ultra triple quadrupole mass spectrometers to analyze assays.

After a newly discovered biomarker has been validated in the CAPMM lab, it will be sent to the BRIMS lab in Cambridge for independent validation, increasing confidence in the results for the scientific community.

"This pioneering work holds promise to break down longstanding barriers in protein biomarker research, and we're pleased that our technology and expertise are making it possible," said Marc Casper, COO of Thermo Fisher Scientific. "Our central mission at the BRIMS Center is to enable and support innovative projects that pave new ground in science, and this partnership perfectly aligns with that goal."

In other agreements:

• Smiths Medical MD (St. Paul, Minnesota) said it would distribute the FreeStyle Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitoring System from Abbott Diabetes Care (Alameda, California). Financial terms were not disclosed.

The FreeStyle Navigator system is designed to continually record interstitial fluid glucose levels for the purpose of improving diabetes management.

• Aperio Technologies (Vista, California), a provider of digital pathway systems, reported that it has been an ongoing collaborator with Burnham Institute for Medical Research (La Jolla, California) to use Asperio's ScanScope slide scanning system and quantitative immunohistochemistry tools to assist in the validation and clinical translation of Burnham's cancer biomarkers.

Aperio said it worked with Burnham researchers to develop advanced image analysis algorithms for Burnham's dual or multicolor stainings in histology and immunohistochemistry to facilitate the simultaneous measurement of protein expression, cell typing, or protein colocalization.

• Premier Purchasing Partners (Charlotte, North Carolina) reported an agreement with Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS; Tustin, California) for MRI products and point of sale service agreements. The contract is available to acute and continuum of care members of the Premier healthcare alliance. Premier also reported an agreement for active electrode monitoring laparoscopic instruments has been awarded to Encision (Boulder, Colorado). The 36-month contract, effective July 1, is available to acute care and continuum of care members of the Premier healthcare alliance.