A Medical Device Daily

Fonar (Melville, New York), which terms itself "the inventor of magnetic resonance scanning," has reported expansion of its international reach with a sale of its unique Upright Multi-Position MRI scanner to a group medical practice in Australia.

Australia represents a new market for Fonar, which said that currently, only about 100 MRI scanners serve that country's population of some 20 million.

Raymond Damadian, Fonar's president/founder, said the sale in Australia "is just one more indication of the enormous future of [our] Upright technology." He said that many patients have come to the U.S. from Australia to be scanned on the Upright MRI. "Physicians and patients realize that they need the unique advantages of this advanced weight-bearing, multi-position technology."

Damadian added that an MRI scan performed while the patient is lying down "doesn't allow physicians to see the patient's spine and other extremities in the positions the patient experiences pain."

For instance, he said, "if a person's neck hurts only when he or she flexes, the problem cannot be properly diagnosed with an MRI when the patient is lying down and symptoms are absent." In fact, according to Damadian, "a static, recumbent, non-weight-bearing scan may not visualize any pathology at all."

And even if the recumbent scan shows "something," he said, "the physician still must know the full extent of the pathology when the patient flexes and extends his/her neck. This relative blindness of the surgeon's ability to visualize the complete dynamic behavior of the patient's problem in its full range of motion can lead to less than optimal surgical results."

Damadian said the company's Upright Multi-Position MRI "enables surgeons to achieve optimal surgical outcomes."

Fonar said the Upright MRI "enables the ideal patient experience," as the patient "walks into the MRI, sits down and watches a 42 inch flat-screen TV as the scan is being performed."

The company said it expects to install the newly sold MRI to the unnamed Australian physician group during the current calendar year.

ACS completes Phase I of Malta installation

Affiliated Computer Services (ACS; Dallas) said it has completed Phase I of the government of Malta's Integrated Health Information System (IHIS) program, which is aimed at attaining the highest-quality patient care for the citizens of that country.

Along with technology partner iSOFT, ACS has installed IT infrastructure that connects laboratory, radiology and image archiving communication systems and integrated them with iSOFT's Patient Administration System and Clinical Order Communication and Results Reporting System.

The companies said the systems "already have helped improve the delivery and management of healthcare service and records in Malta's new 850-bed Mater Dei Hospital, the nation's largest healthcare facility."

ACS also will provide ongoing operations, maintenance and integration services and support through an on-site command center.

"The rapid implementation of this system was designed to provide quick benefits to the citizens of Malta," said Charles Bracken, managing director of ACS Healthcare Solutions. "Not only were we required to install new digital technology, but laboratory and radiology services had to be completely updated in the process, and all of this needed to happen while Mater Dei Hospital was moving to a new campus."

Mater Dei's 150 laboratory scientists conduct 4.5 million tests each year for healthcare professionals throughout the country. Replacing largely manual processes, iSOFT's i.Laboratory systems will speed the turnaround of test results, increase the accuracy of test data and patient information, enhance the legibility of critical reports, and provide better access to patient demographics and specimen records, all improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Invitrogen to distribute Sequenom's MassARRAY

Sequenom (San Diego), a provider of genetic analysis solutions, has entered into an agreement with Invitrogen (Carlsbad, California) under which Invitrogen will be the exclusive distributor for Sequenom's MassARRAY systems and consumable products in Central and South America.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Among our top priorities is expanding our geographic reach and this agreement provides us with an entr e into Central and South America, regions where we see a substantial opportunity but have had little exposure," said Michael Monko, Sequenom senior VP, sales & marketing.

Separately, Sequenom reported the sale of its first MassARRAY system in South America. The system was sold to a sugar cane consortium to be used in biofuel research and development in Brazil.

Sugar cane is a highly efficient raw material for the production of ethanol and is available in abundance in Brazil. Sequenom's technology will be used as part of an effort to engineer an even more productive line of sugarcane for ethanol production.

The MassARRAY system delivers specific data from complex biological samples and from genetic target materials available only in trace amounts.

PTS forms Hong Kong subsidiary

PTS (Las Vegas) said it has formed a new subsidiary company, PTS Group Ltd., in Hong Kong.

PTS said it will be assigning Glove Box Inc. to the new Hong Kong subsidiary, and added that it is in the final stage of negotiation for a letter of intent on either a joint venture or acquisition of a medical equipment company.

Glove Box is the developer of the Glove Box system, a free-standing dispenser of disposable latex gloves.

PTS said the objective of the proposed acquisition or j-v would be for the Chinese medical equipment company to further develop and market the Glove Box in conjunction with its existing medical equipment product lines.

Peter Chin, president/CEO of PTS, said, "My recent trip ... to China allowed me to meet with the management team of the medical equipment company, and they were very enthusiastic with the potential the Glove Box affords."

PTS said it is anticipating completion of the transaction this month.