Medtronic (Minneapolis) reported the completion of implants in its U.S. clinical study of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy, a form of the neurological condition that does not respond to antiepileptic drugs. With 110 patients now implanted with the Intercept Epilepsy Control System, results of the study — the SANTE (Stimulation of the Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus in Epilepsy) trial — are expected to be available during 2008. The trial is using existing Medtronic DBS technology to determine whether bilateral stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus — the brain’s central message and relay station - can safely and effectively reduce seizure frequency in people with epilepsy. The same technology is approved for treating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor — the two most common movement disorders. To qualify for enrollment, study patients were required to have had an average of six or more seizures per month. They continue to receive their epilepsy medications while participating in the trial.

• Mediware Information Systems (Lenexa, Kansas) has introduced its BloodSafe system, an FDA-cleared, bedside point-of-care, transfusion administration package designed to extend blood-safety controls outside the blood bank. It consists of remote release refrigerators that make units available throughout the hospital and handheld devices to verify blood units transfused in surgery or at the bedside. Mediware is offering the BloodSafe system in North America either as a stand-alone solution or as a fully integrated component of the company’s transfusion-management system, HCLL. Mediware’s BloodSafe system will be available as a complementary technology for use with third-party transfusion management systems.

• NeuroTherm (Middleton, Massachusetts) reported the introduction of the StimJect RF cannula designed to reduce procedure time and increase treatment accuracy of radio frequency therapy. The cannula is a typical hollow RF needle, but it also incorporates a sideport that allows injection of a numbing agent without removing the stimulating electrode from the cannula. This is designed to ensure that the cannula remains at the proper position for treating the nerve. The cannula’s special sideport allows the physician to touch only the injection tubing rather than the cannula as a whole. NeuroTherm makes radio frequency generators and related consumables used in the treatment of chronic pain.

• Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics (Tarrytown, New York) reported the introduction of the ADVIA centaur cyclosporine (CsA) assay, an automated test offering laboratories a highly specific immunoassay for the cyclosporine A parent compound. The assay has a simplified extraction process and fully automated processing yielding an 18-minute turnaround time, the company said. The assay’s linear range reduces the need for dilutions, reducing the time required for testing and the associated cost. The system features one-tube processing, reducing the need for pipetting, and delivers hundreds of test results per hour. Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics provides diagnostic solutions that assist in the diagnosis, monitoring and management of disease.

• PatientKeeper (Boston) reported the availability of PatientKeeper P4P, a measurement module which extends the company’s Charge-Capture offering. PatientKeeper P4P automates the process of collecting and reporting quality metrics under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS, Atlanta) 2007 physician quality reporting initiative (PQRI). With this product, hospitals can manage the data collection and reporting processes for PQRI. Instead of creating a separate process to collect the necessary information for each CMS measure, the PatientKeeper P4P solution offers a way for physicians to automatically trigger the appropriate questions as charges are being entered. PatientKeeper is a provider of physician information systems.