• Biopure (Cambridge, Massachusetts) said that the company submitted a draft clinical study protocol to the FDA for compassionate use of the investigational product Hemopure (HBOC-201) in the U.S. The proposed open-label study would make Hemopure available to patients for the treatment of life-threatening or potentially life threatening anemia on a compassionate use basis where blood transfusion is not an option. Under the existing program the company evaluates individual requests from treating physicians for specific patients. If the patient is deemed an appropriate candidate for treatment, the FDA is contacted and a single patient IND is requested. The draft protocol outlines general eligibility criteria that include the following: Severe, life threatening, or potentially life threatening anemia; blood transfusion is not feasible; all alternative treatment options have been exhausted; adult male or female - 18 years of age, or child with anemia secondary to severe burns. Biopure makes pharmaceuticals, called oxygen therapeutics, that are intravenously administered to deliver oxygen to the body’s tissues.

• Novare Surgical Systems (Cupertino, California) reported the successful completion of what are believed to be the first ever laparoscopic nephrectomies that left no visible scar. The RealHand HD instruments are full range of motion hand-held laparoscopic instruments. Developed with the EndoLink mechanism, RealHand technology is designed to mirror the surgeon’s hand direction with the added benefit of tactile feedback. As such, when the surgeon’s hand moves in one direction, the instrument tip exactly follows. RealHand offers 7 degrees of freedom of movement in a hand-held instrument and with no need for additional hardware. Novare Surgical Systems make devices for cardiac surgery.

• VeriChip (Delray Beach, Florida) reported the official launch of the VeriMed patient identification project. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of the VeriMed patient identification system in managing the medical records of Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. In the two-year, 200-patient project, participating individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, as well as their caregivers, will receive the VeriMed microchip, providing emergency department staff easy access to those patients’ identification and medical information. The VeriMed patient identification system allows emergency room physicians to scan the patient’s arm and immediately obtain a 16-digit identification number. The physician can then access the VeriMed database and obtain the patient’s name, contact details, caregiver information and medical history. VeriChip makes radio frequency identification systems used to identify, locate and protect people and assets.

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