Affymetrix (Santa Clara, California) said it has made its new single-chip SNP 5.0 Array available as a limited release. The new array features single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the original two-chip 500K Array Set, as well as 500,000 additional probes that can measure other genetic differences, such as copy number variation. The Affymetrix SNP 5.0 Array was developed in collaboration with the Broad Institute of Harvard (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (also Cambridge) to better identify and understand the genetic variations associated with complex diseases such as autism, autoimmunity, bipolar disease, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Scientists from the Autism Consortium and the Broad Institute are using the SNP 5.0 Array to perform the most comprehensive study to date on the genetics of autism.

Charles River Laboratories International (Wilmington, Massachusetts) reported that its portable endotoxin testing system, the Endosafe- PTS, was recently launched into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery and reached the International Space Station as part of NASA’s efforts to conduct biological research in space. The device is a handheld endotoxin detection system that was licensed by the FDA in July 2006 and is now used in pharmaceutical and biotechnology facilities around the world as a release method for drug products. The system includes a handheld reader and disposable cartridge preloaded with all of the reagents to perform the test. Charles River partners with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and academic institutions to advance the drug discovery and development process.

CytoCore (Chicago) reported the launch of a fast-tracked marketing trial to demonstrate that its e2 Collector is superior, more thorough cell-sampling technology. The company calls this the first major change to the Pap test in 50 years. CytoCore’s e2 Collector balloon device reflects the late-stage bio-scientific research company’s commitment to advancing affordable early screening and treatment for uterine, endometrial and cervical cancers that claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of women worldwide every year, the company said. The benefits of the e2 Collector, according to the company, can be obtained without the need for expensive equipment, reagents, laboratories, ‘learning curve’ or skilled practitioners. The HPV test is currently being adopted as a standard of care and routine component of any thorough Pap screening. Approximately ten of the 30 identified genital HPV types can lead to development of cervical cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site.