A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The Institute for Health Technology Studies (InHealth; Washington) has awarded one-year research grants to two teams at Stanford University (Palo Alto, California). The grants, totaling $538,207, are part of InHealth's goal of bringing objective data and perspective to understanding the impact of medical technology on patients and the healthcare industry.

One project will examine the socioeconomic value of MRI and computed tomography (CT) imaging. The other will document the current regulatory and commercialization processes required of new medical technologies.

The first study, "The Diffusion of Imaging Technologies, Health Care Costs and Quality," will investigate the relationships among the availability of advanced diagnostic imaging services, usage, patient outcomes and healthcare spending.

The second study, "Medical Device Development Models," will document how medical devices are approved and enhanced, pre- and post-market, including the role of the FDA. In addition, the study will clarify the different paths followed by medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotech products. Results from both studies are anticipated by fall 2007.

In other grant news:

• Olympus America (Central Valley, Pennsylvania) and Biotest AG of Germany (Dreieich, Germany) have redefined the agreement under which Biotest's TANGO Automated Blood Bank systems will be sold, serviced and supported throughout the U.S. The new relationship allows Biotest to market TANGO directly to American hospitals through its U.S. subsidiary, Biotest Diagnostics. Olympus will continue to serve its blood donor market in the U.S. with TANGO instrumentation, software and reagents, and will also provide instrument service and technical telephone support to all TANGO customers.

The TANGO system is capable of blood group determination, antibody screening and identification, phenotyping, and compatibility testing. The FDA cleared the system and licensed its blood grouping and anti-human globulin reagents for use in the U.S. in July 2005.

The change in TANGO marketing strategy became effective Oct. 15.

Olympus designs imaging solutions in healthcare, life science and photography.

Biotest AG develops therapeutic and diagnostic systems with a focus on clinical immunology, autoimmune diseases, haematology and intensive care medicine.

• The National Institutes of Health has bought a full site license for a range of Agilent (Palo Alto, California) bioinformatics solutions. Terms were not reported.

NCI is making several solutions available to its intramural program researchers: Agilent GeneSpring GX for gene expression, Agilent CGH Analytics for comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) studies, Agilent Chip Analytics to analyze chromatin immunoprecipitation-on-chip data (ChIP-on-chip), and GeneSpring GT for genotyping and SNP analysis.

The license will enable standardization of bioinformatics platforms so that users communicate using the same terms and share comparable training and support.

Jordan Stockton, gene expression marketing manager for Agilent, said the company is "proud" of its relationship with the NCI, "especially in helping their researchers employ such emerging applications as a CGH and ChIP-on-chip in conjunction with gene expression to accelerate the search for ways of controlling cancer."

Agilent provides microarray-based genomics solutions.

• Affymetrix (Santa Clara, California) reported that it has signed another agreement for Wyeth (Madison, New Jersey) to use its GeneChip microarray technology for three more years, further extending the relationship that began in 1994. Wyeth will continue to apply Affymetrix technology for its drug discovery and development process.

The latest GeneChip technology is expected to enable Wyeth to more accurately classify disease, predict clinical progression and determine likelihoods of treatment success, Affymetrix said.

Affymetrix said its scientists invented the world's first high-density microarray in 1989 and began selling the first commercial microarray in 1994.

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