A Medical Device Daily

AGA Medical (Minneapolis), the University of Minnesota Medical School (also Minneapolis) and the Minnesota Medical Foundation said they have agreed to establish the Amplatz Chair in Radiology, a permanently endowed chair at the University of Minnesota Medical School, with AGA Medical making a donation of $2 million for the initial funding of the chair.

The Amplatz Chair in Radiology honors Kurt Amplatz, MD, professor of radiology at the university, co-founder of AGA and a contributor to the field of interventional radiology and pediatric cardiology. Its purpose is to attract and retain outstanding faculty in the field of radiology. The recipient of the Amplatz Chair will be appointed by the dean of the Medical School in consultation with the chair of the Department of Radiology.

Deborah Powell, MD, dean of the medical school, said, "The faculty who hold endowed chairs attract other passionate scholars. They ignite their students' curiosity. Their groundbreaking discoveries turn the world's attention to Minnesota, bring in major research grants and create jobs in the university and in the private sector."

With Amplatz's leadership, AGA has developed devices that treat the most common congenital holes in the heart, including the Amplatzer septal occluder commercialized by AGA. Its devices are marketed in more than 90 countries with more than 150,000 devices shipped.

Amplatz retired in 1999 from the University of Minnesota after a distinguished career as the Malcolm B. Hanson Research Professor of Diagnostic Radiology.

"His inventions," according to AGA, "include many of what have become the basic tools of interventional radiology, including several guide wires, renal dilators and sheaths, thrombectomy devices, gooseneck snares and vena cava filters."

Amplatz was awarded the Society of Interventional Radiology's Gold Medal in 1996 in recognition of his many contributions to the field. The articles, books and abstracts he has written number in the hundreds.

In contract 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 computer-aided detection (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%. 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.