• Celera Genomics (Rockville, Maryland), an Applera business, in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University and Brigham Young University, reported a publication describing two novel genetic markers associated with an increased risk for myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack. Neither of the two gene variants, VAMP8 and HNRPUL1, has previously been associated with MI. The paper will appear in the July 2006 edition of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and is currently available on the publication's web site. “The size of this study and the identification of VAMP8 and HNRPUL1, coupled with other prospective studies of the general population underway at Celera, are providing valuable insight toward the development of a Genetic Risk Score that may be used just as conventional risk factors are used to identify individuals at elevated risk for heart disease,” said Tom White, PhD, chief scientific officer at Celera Genomics.

• Cytyc (Marlborough, Massachusetts) reported that a study published in the May-June issue of Acta Cytologica reports that implementation of the ThinPrep Imaging System significantly increased detection of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions compared to manually screened ThinPrep Pap Tests. The study compared more than 27,000 manually screened ThinPrep Pap Tests with a similar number of ThinPrep Pap Tests screened utilizing the ThinPrep Imaging System. The authors report a statistically significant increase in the detection of all cytologic categories in the ThinPrep Imaging System group. This includes a 30.7% increase in the detection of low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, and a 20% increase in the detection of high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL). The study also confirmed through biopsy results that increased detection of HSIL in the Imaging System group was true disease rather than false positive cytologic diagnoses.

• Micrus Endovascular (San Jose, California), which develops both implantable and disposable medical devices used in the treatment of cerebral vascular diseases, reported receipt of FDA clearance to market its Courier microcatheter line in the U.S. Micrus said it intends to begin selling this product in the U.S. through its domestic direct sales force. The product line received CE mark clearance in March.

• Novadaq Technologies (Toronto), a developer of medical imaging systems for the operating room, said that research findings from an independent multicenter study on its SPY Intra-operative Imaging System were presented at the American Heart Association's 7th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke in Washington. Initial results indicated surgeons can immediately view the effectiveness of the bypass grafts through the use of the SPY system and make necessary corrections during heart surgery.

• SurModics (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), a provider of surface modification and drug delivery technologies to the healthcare industry, said that it is providing advanced hydrophilic technology for the delivery system of Xtent 's (Menlo Park, California) drug-eluting stent system, which is capable of delivering multiple custom-length stents to treat lesions in numerous vessels with a single procedure. Xtent's stent system allows the physician to precisely customize the stent to fit the lesion length and to treat lesions in multiple arteries with a single catheterization. This less invasive approach is designed to improve stent deliverability while reducing procedure complexity, time and cost. Xtent recently completed its Custom I human clinical trial and initiated the expanded Custom II trial in multiple European centers. Xtent expects market approvals for its drug-eluting stent system in Europe during 2007 and in the U.S. in 2009.

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