• Beckman Coulter (Fullerton, California) reported that its newest chemistry-immunoassay workstation, the UniCel DxC 600i Synchron Access clinical system, has been cleared by the FDA. With an on-board capacity of 89 reagents, the second-generation workcell offers a menu of more than 150 different tests, ranging from cardiac and tumor markers to tests for renal function and diabetes. The DxC 600i, available for shipment in mid-2006, enables clinical laboratories to perform both chemistry and immunoassay testing simultaneously from a single point of sample entry. The company said the DxC 600i will be the only system of its kind with closed-tube sampling and closed-tube aliquotting capabilities, eliminating the de-capping and re-capping steps in the laboratory process. The system offers a throughput up to 990 chemistry tests per hour and up to 100 immunoassay tests per hour.

• GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) reported FDA 510(k) clearance for the Innova 3131IQ and 2121IQ digital flat panel biplane imaging systems at the American College of Cardiology (Bethesda, Maryland) annual scientific sessions held in Atlanta last week. Both systems are indicated for use in cardiovascular imaging, diagnostic and interventional procedures, and 3-D imaging of vessels and soft tissue. The Innova IQ platform is capable of imaging the finest vessels and cardiovascular anatomy based on the company's digital flat panel technology. With the 20cm and 30cm area coverage, the Innova Biplane systems are the first to cover the full size of the patient's lateral and frontal anatomy simultaneously, GE said.

• Spacelabs Medical (Issaquah, Washington) reported the availability of a new addition to the UltraviewSL line of patient monitors. The UltraviewSL 2600 is an advanced compact monitor with options that support open standards and connectivity, including WinDNA, which brings workstation functionality for hospital applications to the point of care. The monitor's compact size and larger display, coupled with advanced monitoring features, provide a flexible solution that enables hospitals to augment their existing installation of Spacelabs monitoring. A wireless networking option supports central surveillance during patient transport, enhancing patient safety and improving emergency response time. Together with its new Clinical Event Interface to hand-held devices, these capabilities serve to accelerate the flow of critical, time-sensitive patient information to caregivers, regardless of location, the company said. Spacelabs Medical is a division of Spacelabs Healthcare, a subsidiary of OSI Systems.

• SpectRx (Norcross, Georgia) said it was granted a patent for the method in which its noninvasive cervical cancer detection technology helps to define the location of disease and reduce errors in data collection. U.S. patent No. 7,006,220 recognizes that the technology is capable of increasing the spatial resolution of changes in tissue in order to more efficiently detect diseases. The patent claims a device that spectroscopically measures tissue at a high resolution while avoiding ambiguity between measured locations, by moving a component of the device and repeating interrogations on a different set of locations of tissue using both fluorescence and reflectance spectroscopy. The method claimed allows for a short measurement time, thereby reducing potential errors while allowing the use of cost effective instrumentation, the company said.

• VisualSonics (Toronto), a developer of high-resolution, ultrasound-based micro-imaging systems, reported at last week's American College of Cardiology (Bethesda, Maryland) conference in Atlanta new cardiovascular functionalities for its Vevo 770 system. The Vevo's new Tissue Doppler Imaging feature allows quantitative myocardial analysis to be performed and used for regional myocardial strain rate. The new integrated blood pressure analysis functionality allows the Vevo 770 system to integrate a blood pressure signal from a third-party continuous pressure monitoring system. Other new features include the automated left ventricular functional analysis, which provides semi-automated continuous tracing of the chamber walls in the left ventricle in either B- or M-Mode. In addition, the Vevo software automatically generates standard left ventricular measurements and calculations derived from the traced contours and collected physiological data.