A Medical Device Daily

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, Massachusetts) has reported an alliance between its Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and George Mason Universitys (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 were 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 agreement news:

• NeoStem (New York), which is conducting pre-disease collection, processing and long-term storage of adult stem cells for future medical need, said it has signed a collection center agreement with the University of Louisville Hospitals James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Robin Smith, MD, NeoStems chairman/CEO, said, "This is an extraordinary agreement for NeoStem and University of Louisville that will allow us to move adult stem cell therapies forward, both at the basic science and translational level."

• Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, California) and Still River Systems (Littleton, Massachusetts) reported an agreement to develop an interface between Varians ARIA Oncology Information System and Still Rivers Monarch250 Proton Beam Radiotherapy (PBRT) System.

"ARIA is a powerful oncology information system that manages the clinical processes unique to radiotherapy treatments for cancer," said Corey Zankowski, Varians senior director for product management. "In addition to providing a complete electronic medical record for oncology, ARIA is exceptional at recording and verifying the numerous treatment parameters and instruction sets required for complex radiotherapy treatments."

Any new ARIA interface that facilitates "record and verify" functions with new radiotherapy delivery technologies are subject to 510(k) clearance by the FDA, and would need such clearance prior to any clinical deployment.