• Acusphere (Watertown, Massachusetts) said that the Journal of Controlled Release recently published a research paper describing the company's porous microparticle technology and AI-700, an ultrasound contrast agent for use in echocardiography. AI-700 is Acusphere's lead product candidate and is currently in Phase III clinical trials. The cardiovascular drug is intended to improve the use of ultrasound in effectively screening patients for coronary heart disease (CHD) by enabling clinicians to obtain information regarding myocardial perfusion with ultrasound, which the company said has potentially significant cost and convenience advantages over nuclear stress tests. In Phase II clinical trials, ultrasound using AI-700 demonstrated greater than 30% higher sensitivity than ultrasound without AI-700 and equal sensitivity in detecting CHD to nuclear stress tests.

• Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, California) reported the introduction of the Agilent 1200 Series LC (liquid chromatography) system, replacing the 1100 Series LC. With more than 60 instrument modules, the Agilent 1200 can be configured for all major LC applications, including a new rapid-resolution format. HPLC-Chips, which can provide customers with more than a 1,000-fold improvement in sensitivity over conventional LC/MS, are available to apply this technology for both small and large molecule work. The 1200 Series Rapid Resolution System provides up to 20 times faster analysis and 60% higher resolution than conventional LC, yet can still run any traditional LC method. A special high-throughput configuration of the 1200 Rapid Resolution system allows sequential execution of more than 2,000 samples per day on a single system. The system features more than 70 new Rapid Resolution High Throughput columns, which range in size and come in more than six bonded phases. The system includes a new high-performance pump that can handle flow rates from 0.05-5 ml/min and up to 600 bar pressure, and features a new high-performance degasser, autosampler, column compartment and UV and MS detectors. The system can be optimized for highest speed and resolution in both LC/UV and LC/MS applications.

• ArthroCare (Austin, Texas) said study results released at the recent International Cartilage Repair Society 6th Symposium show the use of low-temperature bipolar radio frequency, ArthroCare's Coblation technology, may aid in the repair of the avascular region of the meniscus of rabbits following injury and suture repair. During the study, 20 New Zealand White rabbits with meniscal injuries in the avascular region had suture repair while 26 were treated with suture repair and Coblation technology. No evidence of healing was observed in the suture-only menisci. However, 54% of the menisci treated with Coblation in addition to suture repair showed some evidence of healing after nine days. When given 28 days, it resulted in a 70% healing rate. In addition, two posters featured at the symposium highlight low-temperature bipolar radio frequency. “In vivo histology through one year after clinical use of bipolar radio frequency-based chondroplasty“ concluded that bipolar radio frequency appears to provide a safe means for treating moderate-grade chondral lesions, and “The use of bipolar radio frequency for the treatment of aged tendons in the New Zealand rabbit“ concluded that the application of bipolar radio frequency could have “significant value“ in the treatment of tendon disorders.

• Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts) reported the results of a five-year retrospective study on Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICCs) with Pressure Activated Safety Valve (PASV) Technology, indicating a significant reduction in rates of both occlusion and infection. The study, conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC; Nashville, Tennessee), was presented at the recent Association for Vascular Access conference. The study collected data over a five-year period on more than 12,500 PICC procedures performed by trained personnel in the medical center's specialized PICC nursing program. The retrospective analysis revealed an increasing rate of successful placements since the inception of VUMC's PICC Service program in 2000. The choice of PICC technology had a significant impact on the likelihood for catheter occlusion and infection, both complications that can result from PICC procedures. Specifically, patient outcomes demonstrated statistically significant lower rates of occlusion, infection, or both when the PICCs with PASV Valve technology were used. The chance for occlusion was 4.81 times lower, while infection was 1.35 times lower. Overall, the chance for either occlusion or infection was 2.24 times lower when patients received a PICC with PASV Valve technology.

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