New heart center for UAB

Royal Philips Electronics (Andover, Massachusetts) and the UAB Health System (Birmingham, Alabama) reported UAB Hospital's new Heart and Vascular Center will feature advanced Philips Medical technology designed to meet the growing needs of UAB's patients.

The partnership is designed to enable the UAB Health System to fulfill its technological needs, including new facility construction, design consultation, and strategic integrated medical technology planning. To accomplish these and other goals, Philips participates in regular meetings with hospital leadership, and communicates on a daily basis to support the hospital's mission in ensuring that the most advanced patient care is available to patients throughout Alabama and the Southeast.

The new UAB Heart and Vascular Center will be equipped with 13 labs, including four adult catheterization labs, three electrophysiology labs, four vascular and interventional radiology labs, one interventional neuroradiology lab, and one pediatric lab to help physicians treat the ever-increasing population of patients with cardiovascular disease and other diseases amenable to minimally invasive treatments. The new center also will meet the growing demand for more advanced technology and research in the area of cardiovascular care and management.

In addition to the Philips equipment used in the UAB Heart and Vascular Center, UAB has installed in its hospital and The Kirklin Clinic a number of "state-of-the-art" diagnostic systems, including the Philips Brilliance 64-slice and 40-slice computed tomography (CT) systems in the UAB Hospital radiology department, two Philips 40-slice CT systems in the emergency department, a Philips Achieva 3.0 Tesla Cardiovascular MRI System (the first in the state), outpatient bi-plane catheterization equipment, and an Achieva 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging system in The Kirklin Clinic.

Aspect raps use of its product in executions

Aspect Medical Systems (Newton, Massachusetts) spoke out against the use of its Bispectral Index (BIS) technology in execution settings as described in a Perspective article published in the June 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article by Dr. Robert Steinbrook, "New Technology, Old Dilemma - Monitoring EEG Activity during Executions," highlighted the case of Willie Brown Jr., who was executed by lethal injection in North Carolina in April 2006. During the execution, Brown's electroencephalogram was monitored using Aspect's BIS technology.

"As described in this Perspective article, Aspect Medical Systems does not support the use of the BIS technology in conjunction with lethal injections," said Scott Kelley, MD, vice president and medical director of Aspect Medical Systems. "While BIS technology has been shown to be very effective in helping clinicians reduce the incidence of intraoperative awareness and improve recovery from anesthesia, our product was never intended to be used in conjunction with lethal injections. Such use is inconsistent with Aspect's mission to improve patients' lives by helping healthcare professionals deliver the best possible patient care. In addition, it is inappropriate to use the BIS technology without the benefit of the clinical judgment provided by trained medical personnel."

Changes to colorectal cancer screening mulled

Exact Sciences (Marlborough, Massachusetts), which uses applied genomics in an effort to develop patient-friendly screening technologies for use in the detection of cancer, reported that members of the American Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer Advisory Committee and members of a Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer convened last week in Atlanta to discuss potential updates to current colon cancer screening guidelines.

During this meeting, the members discussed, among other topics, the potential inclusion of stool-based DNA testing among the current colon cancer screening guidelines recommendations. In advance of the meeting, Exact Sciences supplied the attendees with a variety of peer-reviewed articles, clinical evidence, economic analyses, and scientific research in support of stool-based DNA testing.

Premier opens new PET center

Premier PET Imaging of Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Florida) reported that it has opened its "state-of-the-art" PET/CT medical diagnostic imaging center.

Michael Fagien, MD, board-certified nuclear radiologist, is the medical director for Premier PET Imaging of Jacksonville, the newest addition to the Jacksonville medical community. The imaging center houses a new-generation General Electric Discovery ST 16 slice PET/CT imaging system, the most advanced PET/CT imaging system available in an outpatient fixed-site facility in Jacksonville, the center said.

The imaging center's PET/CT system integrates the most advanced positron emission tomography scanner with the fastest and most sophisticated 16-slice computed tomography scanner technology all in one exam. PET creates images of high metabolic activity in the body, rather than creating images of anatomy only. CT scans allows the physician to see the internal structures within the human body. Together, the PET/CT scan allows physicians to view metabolic activity and pinpoint where abnormal lesions are located so that they may accurately target the disease.

Best Labs gets laboratory accreditation

Best Lab Deals/Lab Service Tech Calibration Laboratory (BLD/LSTCL; Garner, North Carolina) reported the company has received laboratory accreditation in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025:2005, the most recent version of the ISO 17025 guideline adapted in June 2005, which covers several new areas in quality management not previously addressed in the 1999 release.

BLD/LSTCL's laboratory has been evaluated and accredited as meeting the technical competence requirements of the internationally recognized standard ISO/IEC 17025, which includes the management requirements of the ISO 9000 standards.

BLD/LSTCL operates a wholly owned and fully staffed calibration laboratory providing ISO certified calibration services for pipettes and balances, and has become only the second calibration laboratory in the eastern U.S. to reach this status.