A Medical Device Daily

Intermagnetics General (Latham, New York) reported that its subsidiary, Invivo (Gainesville, Florida) has been awarded a $500,000 Department of Defense grant to develop an integrated hardware and software system that will enable high-resolution MRI of traumatic brain injuries and promote more effective diagnosis and treatment in many difficult cases. Invivo is partnering with the Office of Naval Research on the project.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) formally unveiled the award at Invivo's headquarters yesterday.

“Brain injury is the second leading cause of battlefield deaths, and this grant is intended to provide a means of diagnosis and treatment that, in many cases, is not totally reliable under current procedures,“ Stearns said. “We owe it to our wounded military personnel returning from combat duty to have the best possible care available.“

Tom Schubert, chief technology officer of Invivo, said: “We believe Invivo's advanced MRI radio frequency coils, which enable highly detailed organ-specific imaging, combined with modifications to our innovative DynaCad computer-aided diagnostic system, will provide the solution the military is seeking.“

Schubert added that CT is the main radiological tool for diagnosing traumatic brain injury patients but limited “to visualizing fractures and significant hematomas but is ineffective in diagnosing more subtle injuries.“ He said it does not provide fine soft-tissue discrimination to investigate small white matter lesions common in traumatic or concussive brain injury and cannot be used in the investigation of subarachnoidal hemorrhage.

Schubert noted that the Invivo solution would be used in the highest-field MRI systems available, such as those powered by the 3.0 Tesla magnets from Intermagnetics.

Invivo said that, working with the Office of Naval Research, it expects to deliver evaluation models of both the advanced imaging hardware and the analysis software this year.

In other grants/contracts news:

Acacia Research (Newport Beach, California) reported that its CombiMatrix group (Mukilteo, Washington), in collaboration with Texas A&M University (College Station), has been awarded a National Academies Keck Futures Initiative grant to fund a method to increase the speed of hybridization in DNA microarray applications. The amount of funding was not disclosed.

Co-principal investigators Dr. Robin Liu of CombiMatrix and Professor Victor Ugaz of Texas A&M will launch studies to obtain data serving as the cornerstone for additional funding.

Dr. Robin Liu, manager of microfluidic technology at CombiMatrix, said, “A rapid, field compatible and low-cost hybridization enhancement technique would result in a revolutionary step forward in DNA microarray capabilities. This proposal will address this need by combining our expertise in microarrays and fluid dynamics to develop a versatile technique for DNA microarray enhancement. This work will be the first time these approaches have been applied toward biomolecule hybridization.“

The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative is a 15-year effort to push interdisciplinary inquiry and enhance communication among researchers, funding organizations, universities and the general public.

Zonare Medical Systems (Mountain View, California), a developer of ultrasound technology, reported a two-year contract with Kaiser Permanente, for Zonare's z.one ultrasound system. The contract value was not disclosed.

Zonare, based on Zone Sonography technology, enables clinicians to instantly convert the z.one system from a full-featured, cart-based unit into a compact, portable ultrasound system with the performance of larger, more expensive units, the company said.

“Kaiser Permanente thoroughly evaluated Zone Sonography technology throughout its development cycle,“ said John Rego, MD, chief of radiology, San Francisco, and chair of Northern California chiefs for Kaiser Permanente.