• Accuray (Sunnyvale, California), manufacturer of the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, said that more than 300 surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical physicists gathered last month for the 5th annual CyberKnife Society Users' Meeting to discuss the latest in robotic radiosurgery applications using the CyberKnife system. A significant part of the meeting focused on clinical applications using the CyberKnife's ability to treat tumors anywhere in the body. Several clinical presentations reported on the success of radiosurgical treatments of lung lesions with a focus on patients with otherwise limited treatment options. Physicians attributed the recent foray into thoracic and general surgery cases in large part to the Synchrony Respiratory Tracking System, a key feature of the CyberKnife system. Synchrony technology allows patients to breathe normally throughout their treatment without breath-holding or gating techniques thus enabling clinicians to image, track and treat complex targets, while minimizing damage to healthy tissue or critical structures.

• Biosense Webster (Diamond Bar, California), a Johnson & Johnson company, reported that the FDA approved a combination of technologies that will enhance a physician's ability to treat patients with cardiac arrhythmias. The approval results in what Biosense said are the first and only commercially available products for use during cardiac radio frequency ablation with the Niobe Magnetic Navigation System from Stereotaxis (St. Louis) and the Carto RMT System from Biosense Webster. The FDA approval covers the use of the company's NaviStar RMT Diagnostic/ Ablation Steerable Tip Catheter with the Niobe System. Biosense Webster said it offers the only products that work with the Stereotaxis system to enable electrophysiologists to steer a catheter remotely, map the electrical activity of the heart, and ablate targeted areas that require treatment.

• 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.

• Hill-Rom (Batesville, Indiana) reported the availability of a new medical "arm" system. The Latitude arm system serves as a mobile headwall, allowing caregivers to position and configure it in the best way necessary to deliver medical gasses, electric power and other critical services to treat patients. The Latitude system eliminates bed positioning; the arm and services can be moved to the patient. When a patient must be treated or transferred, the arm moves out of the way, providing better access for caregivers and equipment. When not in use, the arm system can be "docked" flat against the wall to save space. The Latitude also features a locking system that prevents drift; increased spacing between outlets, making it easier to use; improved patient environments; and provision of space above the patient for lighting, lifts and other equipment.

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