A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Positron (Houston) reported that it has formed an agreement with the University of Texas at Houston and the Weatherhead PET Center (Houston) headed by Dr. K. Lance Gould granting Positron a license to develop a comprehensive software system developed for the diagnostic and management needs in coronary artery disease.

The software system includes the quantification of coronary blood flow images by PET Longitudinal Gradient Analysis and Homogeneity Algorithm (LGA/HA) to determine severity of coronary disease as the objective non-invasive basis for or against coronary bypass surgery or stent procedures and the automated objective analysis of CT or invasive coronary angiograms and a comprehensive database management system.

The addition of the LGA/HA enables the Positron device to identify early coronary artery disease before clinically significant blockages develop.

Positron said that the quantitative accuracy provides non-invasive follow-up of treatment effectiveness in long-term studies documenting the prevention, stabilization or reversal of coronary artery disease in most patients.

It said in a statement: "The Coronary Arteriographic Tree analysis program integrates fluid dynamic research into automated quantification of the entire coronary artery tree for diffuse atherosclerosis as well as multiple blockages in all coronary arteries and branches on a CT or invasive coronary arteriogram. It therefore avoids the common visual overestimation of severity that leads to unnecessary bypass surgery or angiogram catheter procedures."

Positron said this integrated clinical software bundle further differentiates it in the growing cardiac PET market.

In conjunction with Positron's software R&D, the company also reported the release of Positron version A3.7 software, incorporating the LGA/HA algorithms, a cardiac normal database and enhancements for quantification, usability and predictability unique to Positron PET software.

Joseph Oliverio, president of Positron, said, "With this software we can bridge the prior critical deficiencies with our integrated quantification of coronary anatomy by CTA, myocardial perfusion and heart function by PET imaging. The release of A3.7 and with the enhancements for quantification will allow Positron users to compete for cholesterol lowering drug trails that assess coronary artery disease reversal."

Positron imaging devices are sold under the trade name Posicam.

In other agreements news:

• R2 Technology (Sunnyvale, California), which focuses on computer-aided detection (CAD) technology for the earlier detection of breast cancer and other medical conditions, reported that HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG; Brentwood, Tennessee) has awarded the company a two-year contract for its ImageChecker CAD systems for use with mammography.

HPG, a healthcare group purchasing organization, will make R2's ImageChecker Mammography CAD systems available to its members – about 1,200 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and alternate care sites around the country.

"HPG is one of the most respected group purchasing organizations in the country. We are pleased to serve their members so that more women nationwide will have access to our potentially life-saving technology," said John Pavlidis, R2's president and CEO.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology showed that R2's CAD system increased detection rates of small, invasive breast cancers by 164 percent. The study also showed that the women's mean age at cancer detection with R2's CAD was 5.3 years younger – or, potentially five mammography cycles sooner – than in those for whom CAD was not used.

R2's ImageChecker system was the first CAD system approved by the FDA for use with film-based mammography in 1998 and for digital mammography in 2001.

• iCAD (Nashua, New Hampshire), a provider of computer-aided detection (CAD) solutions, and MedAssets Supply Chain Systems (Atlanta), a group purchasing organization, reported an agreement that enables MedAssets' customers to purchase iCAD products at preferred pricing.

The agreement includes all iCAD film-based mammographic CAD solutions and the new TotalLook system, which acquires prior film mammograms at full image fidelity for use in comparative reading with digital mammography. The multiyear MedAssets-iCAD purchasing agreement became effective April 1.

• Ingenuity Systems (Redwood City, California) reported a partnership with Asuragen (Austin, Texas) to provide Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) 3.0 software capabilities to Asuragen's molecular diagnostic customers.

Ingenuity said that IPA is a software designed to enable researchers to model and analyze "complex biological systems at the core of life science research." It supports analysis of all high throughput analysis platforms and can be used in all areas of drug discovery and development, from target identification and validation to biomarkers, predictive toxicology and pharmacogenomics.