A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The National Institutes of Health has funded a study by William Beaumont Hospital (WBH; Royal Oak, Michigan) investigators to examine how lung tumors move and to refine ways to compensate for breathing-induced tumor motion. The amount of the funding was not disclosed.

Lung tumors have been difficult to treat with radiation therapy because patient breathing causes tumors to move. This uncertainty about the tumor's exact position has made it challenging to target the tumor with radiation beams while simultaneously avoiding normal tissues with these same treatment beams.

WBH researchers, led by clinical physicist Geoffrey Hugo, PhD, are using two Elekta (Stockholm, Sweden) technologies, Elekta Synergy, a cancer treatment delivery system with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and image-guided radiation treatment (IGRT) system using a patient breathing control device, Elekta Active Breathing Coordinator to conduct the study.

"This study attempts to measure lung tumor movement in patients with different stages of non-small cell lung cancer and also tumor motion in the same patients during their treatment course,"said Hugo. "The ultimate goals are to better target lung tumors and allow use of smaller treatment margins based on how each patient's tumor moves during the breathing cycle and even adapt the patient's treatment throughout the treatment course."

Strategies that improve the ability to target cancer and avoid normal tissues also enable clinicians to employ more aggressive treatments, such as using higher doses over fewer treatment sessions, according to Hugo. Both Elekta's IMRT and IGRT system, Elekta Synergy, and Elekta's Active Breathing Coordinator have been used individually to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy through better targeting, the company said.

The WBH study presents an opportunity to combine both technologies to improve lung cancer treatments, Elekta said.

Elekta Synergy is a multi-functional linear accelerator equipped with imaging equipment that enables doctors to acquire images of the patient with the patient in the treatment position. Clinicians can then use the imaging data to fine-tune the patient's position immediately prior to treatment. Elekta's Active Breathing Coordinator is designed to help patients suspend their breathing at a precise point, thereby freezing the target's motion to facilitate radiation therapy.

Elekta's Active Breathing Coordinator will be used to measure respiratory-induced tumor motion and what sort of breath hold (i.e., shallow, deep, on exhalation, on inhalation) will result in the least variability in tumor position.

In contract news:

• OSI Systems (Hawthorne, California) said its optoelectronics and manufacturing division, OSI Optoelectronics, has received a contract for about $6.3 million from an international Fortune 500 medical equipment company, though that company was not named.

OSI Optoelectronics will make semiconductor photodiodes at its Wafer Processing Center (Hawthorne, California), with the final subsystem detector electronic module being produced through its Norwegian subsidiary, Advanced Micro Electronics (Horten, Norway). Shipment of the assemblies is expected to be complete within the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007.

"Our medical OEM business continues to build its reputation internationally when it comes to complex global manufacturing and assembly contracts,"said Manoocher Mansouri, president of OSI Optoelectronics.

OSI Systems provides specialized electronic products for applications in the security and healthcare industries.

• Nanogen (San Diego) reported being awarded a $4.5 million contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta) to develop a multi-analyte point-of-care (POC) assay for Influenza in support of U.S. Government efforts to strengthen readiness for a potential influenza pandemic. Nanogen technology will be used in a low-cost, high-sensitivity POC immunoassay that simultaneously detects Influenza Type A, Type B, seasonal flu and avian flu in a simple assay format.

The development program is partnered with HX Diagnostics (Menlo Park, California), which will commercialize the product upon approval.

The $4.5 million award funds the first two phases of a five-phase development project and, if all phases are funded by the CDC, could total about $12.5 million over the next two to three years.

Howard Birndorf, Nanogen's CEO and chairman, said, "A rapid test for bird flu could play a significant role in tracking infections and warding off epidemic spread of this dangerous virus."The Nanogen product under development is a third generation high-sensitivity lateral flow test designed to be accurate, highly portable, and simple to use yet with a cost similar to current influenza POC tests sold today.

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research (Camden, New Jersey) has been awarded a $3.1 million contract from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI; Bethesda, Maryland) to establish a Sample Repository for Human Genetic Research.

The repository will house samples collected for the International HapMap Project. The NHGRI initially worked with the Human Genetic Cell Repository at Coriell, sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), to establish, store and distribute the cell lines and DNA studied to develop the HapMap, a comprehensive description of the patterns of human genetic variation that has been placed in the public domain.