A Medical Device Daily

The European Commission (EC) has launched a call for proposals for a new program designed to create closer links between staff working in research organizations in Europe and their counterparts in other international partner countries.

The program, dubbed the International Research Staff Exchange Scheme, has a budget of 125 million for 2008 that will support staff exchanges of up to 12 months per staff member.

Staff from research organizations in 29 different countries can participate and the program is open to all fields of research, the EC said.

The announcement of this program comes as the European Commission launches calls for proposals for more than EUR 1 billion worth of research funds to be allocated next year.

"Science is all about the people who carry it out on a daily basis, and devote their lives to its advancement," said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik. "As we are seeking to enhance the international dimension of our Framework Program, creating links between research organizations around the world is a very good starting point."

Marie Curie fellowship program have been the mainstay of the European Union's support to research for more than 10 years, bringing together researchers, academics and businesses and involving some of the top names in European science. The EC said that program has been "an important instrument to connect researchers and institutes not just across Europe, but increasingly at a global level."

The European Commission said the new program will open the benefits of the Marie Curie approach to staff working in research organizations in all of the 29 countries with which the EU either has a science and technology agreement or which are part of the European Neighborhood Policy.

MRSA product milestone reported

NOLabs (Helsingborg, Sweden), a company developing nitric oxide-containing medical devices based on its NitroSense technology, reported that it has achieved another milestone in the development of a new line of products for wounds infected by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-resistant bacteria.

In experiments performed at Malmoe University Hospital in Sweden, researchers showed that the NOLabs technology has a "promising" ability to kill a wide range of pathogens, including MRSA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta), about 126,000 hospitalizations are related to MRSA and 19,000 deaths are associated with serious MRSA infections every year in U.S. hospitals. Patients at particular risk for with MRSA infection include those with severe disease, recent surgery or in-dwelling medical devices, such as urinary catheters.

NOlabs CEO Goran Beijer said, "The recent results show that we are on the right track toward products with an enormous potential globally. The anti-microbial effect of NO will be key in several products that will prevent and/or treat infection depending on dosing."

He added: "We are now accelerating our development program and expect to have the first products on the market during 2008."

The company said its NitroSense technology "assures controlled, local delivery of pure nitric oxide in a well-defined concentration range during a well-defined time period. The main areas are prevention of catheter-related urinary tract infections, relief of neuropathic pain and wound care products with an anti-bacterial effect.

NOLabs said the technology has "a significant potential to address serious health issues that impact the lives of over 100 million people."

Lung Flute receives CE mark

Medical Acoustics (Buffalo, New York) said it has successfully registered its Lung Flute as a Class 1 medical device for sale in the European Union.

The company said it "demonstrated conformity with essential health and safety requirements set out in European directives," and now is qualified to apply the CE mark for marketing the Lung Flute in the EU, for both diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Medical Acoustics officially launched the Lung Flute within the European Union at last month's Medica trade fair in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The company said its strategy is to penetrate the EU market through leading distributors, particularly those that serve the pharmaceutical, medical and public health markets specializing in lung and respiratory diseases.

"The Lung Flute provides EU clinicians with a safe, easy-to-use means of obtaining high quality sputum samples for the improved diagnosis and treatment of a myriad of lung and respiratory diseases," said Terence Cryan, president of Medical Acoustics. "The applications for our device are far-ranging. They include, for example, public health officials using the Lung Flute to quickly and effectively gather sputum samples to screen for tuberculosis, or health clinics using it to clear the lungs of asthma patients."

He said the technology is now accessible to more than 300 million people throughout the EU.

The device, which the company said is both cost-effective and easy to use, is shaped like a flute and creates a specific low-frequency sound when the user blows into it. "This creates vibrations in the airways and lung, which cause deep lung secretions to thin and be expelled," Medical Acoustics said

The standard method for obtaining lung secretions for testing involves a person breathing hypertonic saline into their lungs. "This method is very uncomfortable," the company said, "and in addition, cannot be done more frequently than every 48 hours."

VitroLife reports on warrants

Vitrolife (Kungsbacka, Sweden) said that under its 2005/2008 warrants program, 10,000 warrants have been converted into shares in Vitrolife. As of Nov. 30, the number of shares in the company has increased from 19,790,157 to 19,800,157.

The subscription period for the warrants program runs until Sept. 3, 2008, with the number of warrants in the program totaling 550,000 at an issue price of SEK 30.90.

Vitrolife is a global biotechnology/medical device company that is developing, products and systems for the preparation, cultivation and storage of human cells, tissue and organs.

The company has business activities within three product areas: fertility, transplantation and safety.

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