• Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, California) reported the introduction of an entire portfolio of chromatography-based mass spectrometry (LC/MS) systems that is expected to nearly double its LC/MS market share by 2008. The Agilent 6000 Series will include five classes of instruments, including the company's first triple quadrupole and quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometers. The 6000 Series also includes improved versions of Agilent's single-quadrupole, ion trap and time-of-flight mass spectrometers. Each of the new LC/MS instruments includes Agilent's autotune technology; compatibility with Agilent's multimode source and HPLC-Chip technology; and integrated LC and MS software for instrument control and data analysis. Each instrument comes with integrated LC and MS software for a single point of instrument control and data analysis.

• GeneFluidics (Monterey Park, California) said research reported in the February Journal of Clinical Microbiology investigated its biosensor technology in the diagnosis of urinary tract infections (UTI) – the second-most-common bacterial infection – in a clinically relevant timeframe. Researchers used GeneFluidics' biosensor, coated with species-specific genetic probes designed at University of California, Los Angeles, to correctly identify the infection-causing gram-negative bacteria species in 98% of the tested clinical UTI urine samples. These results represent the first ever species-specific detection of bacteria in human clinical fluid samples using a microfabricated electrochemical sensor array, the company said. The test provided results in 45 minutes, compared to two days with conventional methods. GeneFluidics said it anticipates the rapid test may be available in the next two to three years.

• Signalife (Greenville, South Carolina), focused on the detection of cardiovascular disease through continuous ECG signal monitoring, reported that Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) has completed the Device Implementation, Validation and Application (DIVA) Program for the company's initial product, the Fidelity 100 Ambulatory EKG/ECG Monitor. A total of 108 patients, with clinical indications for elective or possible percutaneous coronary intervention, were recorded to provide detailed documentation of the device's ability to detect and quantify transient ischemic episodes in comparison to conventional ECG devices. Data is currently being analyzed by the eECG Core Laboratory at the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

• Synbiotics (San Diego) has received conditional approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for U.S. marketing and distribution of its Avian Influenza Virus Type A Antigen Test Kit, which provides fast and highly sensitive detection of the virus in poultry, including subtype H5N1. The agency is reviewing Synbiotics' application for full approval. This product already is being marketed in other parts of the world under the trademark Flu Detect. The Flu Detect antigen test kit, launched last spring, detects all 16 sub-types of Influenza Type A and can be used in the laboratory or on the farm.

• Vidar Systems (Herndon, Virginia), a provider of medical film digitizers, reported the full release of Clinical Express 3.0 software for mammography. Used with the Vidar CAD Pro Advantage Film Digitizer, Clinical Express 3.0 allows prior film-based studies to be digitized and then reviewed alongside new studies on digital mammography workstations. The company said the CAD Pro Advantage delivers superior image quality, exceptional consistency and repeatability, and increased speed. The platform features Vidar's high-definition CCD technology and Automatic Digitizer Calibration. The CAD PRO Advantage also includes a film feeder designed for the highest reliability, productivity, and ease of use.

• VirtualScopics (Rochester, New York), a developer of image-related biomarkers, reported that it has been issued U.S. patent No. 6,984,981, "Magnetic Resonance Method and System Forming an Isotropic, High Resolution, Three Dimensional Diagnostic Image of a Subject from Two-Dimensional Image Data Scans," by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent relates to a new technology that improves upon the resolution and tissue contrast obtained from conventional MRI, providing more information from those images.

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