A Medical Device Daily

Algynomics (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) and Orthogen (Dusseldorf, Germany) reported forming an alliance in the area of individualized orthopedics medicine to facilitate clinical studies designed to identify genetic markers of orthopedic diseases and responses to pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments.

"New discoveries in the area of pain genetics will soon change clinical practice by helping treating healthcare providers to choose the best treatment options for their orthopedic patients," said Dr. William Maixner, president of Algynomics.

Algynomics' chief scientific officer, Dr. Luda Diatchenko, has published several findings in the area of pain genetics, including a December 2006 article in Science which identified a genetic basis to common musculoskeletal pain conditions.

Chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia syndrome, temporomandibular joint disorders and degenerative spine disease affect 15%-30% of the North American and European populations. The susceptibility to develop these conditions and the responses to treatment is highly variable and influenced by variations in several genes, according to Algynomics.

A current joint ongoing prospective randomized study in knee-OA is underway. This study will identify genetic polymorphisms that predict the treatment responses to interarticular hyaluronic acid (HA) or Orthokine, a product of Orthogen designed to treat OA and sciatica.

"In the future, gene tests could help orthopedic surgeons to decide if a disc prolapse is better treated by surgery or with agents such as Orthokine", said Dr. Peter Wehling, president of Orthogen.

In other agreement news: The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS; Philadelphia) said it has selected active infection surveillance and real-time injury detection and prevention systems provided by TheraDoc (Salt Lake City).

UPHS will use TheraDoc to evaluate and monitor the optimization of antibiotic usage patterns, the company said. It said that infectious diseases physicians at UPHS are planning research projects to evaluate the clinical interventions facilitated by TheraDoc and will measure the impact of real-time interventions on the emergence and persistence of antimicrobial-resistant organisms.

TheraDoc will continuously monitor electronic patient records to identify infections in real-time, it said. It will deliver the clinical data and patient information that will assist UPHS clinicians in reducing and preventing healthcare-acquired infections.

To support the research projects, enable real-time infection management and prevention, and streamline internal and external infection rate reporting, TheraDoc will integrate its Expert System Platform and Infection Control Assistant on-site with the healthcare information systems at UPHS to leverage existing data assets, the company said. Further enhancements will result as TheraDoc implements additional components of its injury detection and prevention systems, including the Antibiotic Assistant, ADE Assistant and Clinical Alerts Assistant. These modules will help UPHS with clinical decision-making and further enhance antimicrobial stewardship and management.

TheraDoc said it will assist clinicians in identifying adverse drug events by rapidly identifying intervention opportunities for patients at risk, notifying clinicians in real-time and delivering critical data via e-mail, handheld or pager.

The 1,554-bed UPHS includes three hospitals, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multi-specialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.

TheraDoc is a clinical informatics company developing solutions for improving clinical and financial outcomes.