A Medical Device Daily

BK Medical (Copenhagen, Denmark), subsidiary of Analogic (Peabody, Massachusetts), and Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, California) reported a "global collaboration to improve and streamline prostate brachytherapy procedures through a new, digital interface between BK Medical's Pro Focus ultrasound scanner and Varian's VariSeed 8.0 planning software."

According to the companies, the digital interface enables new ways of performing prostate brachytherapy with its easy-to-use, streamlined workflow capabilities that include automatic calibration and multiple contouring transfers. Brachytherapy is an effective and widely used weapon in the armory of oncologists in the fight against prostate cancer, BK and Varian said.

"This interface gives us a much higher-quality image transfer and enables VariSeed to be far more interactive with the ultrasound unit," said Hosea Mitchell, head of Varian's brachytherapy group.

Efficiency improvements include improved workflow, as the image calibration data and contours are sent directly from the ultrasound to VariSeed so the user does not need to calibrate the images or re-contour the structures, thereby saving time, the companies noted. The new interface also offers greater flexibility, as the urologist or radiation oncologist can zoom in or out on the ultrasound while using the VariSeed intra-operative module (Implant View) without losing calibration between the two systems.

BK and Varian will be co-presenting the new interface at the 2008 World Congress of Brachytherapy, May 4-6, in Boston, followed by the 2008 American Urological Association meeting, May 17-22, in Orlando.

BK develops ultrasound scanners designed for surgery and for the investigation of urological disorders. The product line also includes scanners for other applications, such as gynecological examinations, fetal scanning, and radiology.

Varian makes devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy.

In other agreement news:

• Illumina and Genpathway (both San Diego) reported a partnership to provide researchers whole-genome chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing services. Samples are first prepared using Genpathway's FactorPath ChIP assays, and then sequenced by the Genome Analyzer through Illumina's Sequencing Services. Final data analysis is completed by Genpathway using its software analysis tools. Combined, the Illumina and Genpathway services provide researchers with access to a complete ChIP-sequencing solution for identifying and quantifying transcription factor binding sites across the entire genome, the companies said.

• Premier Purchasing Partners (San Diego) reported a new portfolio of agreements for bandages, dressings and gauze. Covidien (Mansfield, Massachusetts) was awarded in general wound care, and Tetra Medical Supply (Niles, Illinois) was awarded in elastic bandages.

These 29-month agreements, effective May 1, are available to both acute-care and continuum-of-care markets.

SeQual Technologies (San Diego) said it is supplying its new battery operated oxygen concentrator, the Eclipse Oxygen System, for integration into the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles being developed for medical needs in support of combat casualty care in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Eclipse is a portable oxygen concentrator. The 17-pound unit, on wheels and about the size of a child's backpack, is designed to pull oxygen from the air and deliver it in nearly-pure form to those with breathing or lung difficulties. Similar to a laptop computer, it needs only AC electrical power from a wall socket, DC electrical power from a vehicle, or its own internal battery to make medical grade oxygen anywhere in the world, SeQual said.

Osteotech (Eatontown, New Jersey) reported an exclusive distribution agreement with BioHorizons (Birmingham, Alabama), which became effective April 1. BioHorizons will market Osteotech's bone regeneration products to the dental market in 29 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. BioHorizons agreed in 2000 to distribute Osteotech's products to the U.S. dental market.