• Baxter Healthcare (Deerfield, Illinois) reported that it has initiated the first human Phase II adult stem cell therapy trial in the U.S. designed to investigate the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of blood-derived selected CD34+ stem cells to improve symptoms and clinical outcomes in patients with chronic myocardial ischemia, a severe form of coronary artery disease. The prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study will involve about 150 adult patients who are currently on maximal medical therapy and are not suitable candidates for conventional procedures to improve blood flow to the heart.

• 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.

• BioLucent (Aliso Viejo, California), a manufacturer of products to increase patient comfort during mammography, said its MammoPad breast cushion, along with breast positioning training, improves tissue acquisition in mammograms, according to a poster presentation at this week's National Consortium of Breast Centers conference in Las Vegas. The poster describes a clinical study in which newer mammograms were compared to each patient's most recent prior mammogram. The newer mammograms used the breast cushion and were taken after mammography technologists had undergone training in techniques to better position the breast, including using MammoPad. The study showed statistically significant, greater tissue acquisition in all four views for the newer group of mammograms. The radiolucent, single-use pad covers the surfaces of the mammography machine. Studies have demonstrated that the FDA-cleared MammoPad does not interfere with X-ray quality, and can actually increase the amount of compression women can tolerate.

• Biophan Technologies (Rochester, New York) reported that it has filed a broad patent as part of its collaboration with partner NaturalNano (West Henrietta, New York) on novel drug delivery technologies involving applications of naturally occurring nanotubes found in halloysite clay. Biophan and NaturalNano are collaborating to develop products using the nanotubes as advanced drug delivery systems in a number of proprietary biomedical applications. Biophan's newly filed patent application covers biomedical uses of the nanotubes for a range of products, including bandages, wound healing applications, and other uses.

• Clearant (Los Angeles) reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued to Clearant patents No. 6,979,829 for “Devices and methods for determining the amount of energy absorbed during irradiation,“ and No. 6,946,098 for “Methods for sterilizing biological materials.“ The patents cover technology used in the validation and application of the Clearant Process for pathogen inactivation. The first patent covers the ability to measure the dose of irradiation received by a product at low temperature. The second patent deals with the irradiation of biologics with at least one stabilizer in an amount effective to preserve the biological material for sterilization, where the biological material is glassy or vitrified.

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