A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

GE Global Research (Niskayuna, New York), the centralized research organization of General Electric (GE; Fairfield, Connecticut), and the Frangioni Laboratory at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston) have received a $6.5 million grant from the Cancer Imaging Program of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (both Bethesda, Maryland), to engage in a five-year industrial/academic research collaboration to enhance the imaging of cancerous tumors during surgery.

The Frangioni Laboratory has developed an intraoperative imaging system that permits the surgeon to see diseases, such as cancer, using sensitive, but invisible, near-infrared fluorescent light. GE Global Research expects to increase the sensitivity of the system and to make it compatible with endoscopy and laparoscopy. That is expected to enable deeper visualization into tissue and enable less-invasive forms of surgery, decreasing risk and recovery time for patients.

Steve Lomnes, program leader for biomedical optics at GE Global Research, said, “The biggest question patients and loved ones ask following cancer surgery is ‘Did you get it all?’” He said that through this collaborative research partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess, “we have an extraordinary opportunity to revolutionize cancer surgery and provide surgeons with the kind of real-time imaging and information they need and give patients the best possible prognosis for a future that is cancer-free.”

“This highly innovative technology will help surgeons identify and remove all of the tumor during operations,” said Marc Zeidel, MD, chief of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess. “The cancer imaging laboratory defines excellence in translational research by taking what we have learned about cancer biology and using it to develop new ways to see cancers during surgery, in real time.”

An initial design of a prototype imaging system for open surgeries is expected to be complete by the end of the first year of the project. The ultimate goal of the research partnership is to have a fully functional and completed surgical imaging system ready for the clinical stage in five years.

Acacia Research (Newport Beach, California) said its CombiMatrix Group (Mukilteo, Washington) has received a one-year, $338,000 contract from the U.S. Air Force for the development and production of microarrays to detect pathogens that cause upper respiratory infections and pathogens that infect wounds. The contract is the result of a collaborative effort with the Air Force Institute of Occupational Health that led to the development of a rapid assay and microarray that identifies all forms (serotypes) of influenza A, including bird flu.

The first array to be developed under the new contract will identify a number of upper respiratory infections that can cause potentially life-threatening diseases (viral and bacterial pneumonia) or lead to pandemic infections (bird flu and SARS).

In other grants/contracts news:

SeraCare Life Sciences (Oceanside, California) said it has received a new, expanded contract with the National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, Maryland) to provide laboratory support to the institute for the processing and storage of biomedical specimens of persons at high risk for cancer.

SeraCare will act as a repository for these roughly 2.9 million biological specimens and will perform the associated testing, services and clinical sample processing.

The total estimated amount of the project is expected to be a little over $14.1 million.

SeraCare Life Sciences is a maker of biological materials and services for the use and manufacture of diagnostic tests and the development and production of pharmaceuticals.

Aesculap (Center Valley, Pennsylvania), the U.S. business unit of Aesculap Ag & Co., which focuses on design and manufacturing of neurosurgical products and medical equipment, reported the award of a three-year agreement with Premier (San Diego) for neurosurgery products.

The agreement provides Premier members access to purchase both adult and pediatric neurosurgical products in the categories of aneurysm clips, bi-polar instrumentation, CranioFix cranial fixation products, duraplasty products, Minop minimally invasive neuroendoscopy equipment, neuro-instrumentation, neuro-power equipment, scalp homeostasis products, hydrocephalous shunts and ultrasonic aspirators at cost-effective pricing and terms.

Children’s Hospital Boston (Boston) has selected some of Siemens Medical Solutions’ (Malvern, Pennsylvania) angiography and interventional cardiology technology for its new outpatient care facility in Waltham, Massachusetts. Cited as one of the leading pediatric hospital in the country, Children’s Hospital Boston furnished its catheterization labs and interventional radiology suites with 10 systems from Siemens’ Axiom Artis line of angiography systems. Since installation, the facility has experienced significant improvements to its integrated pediatric cath lab.

Siemens also said that Ohio State University Medical Center’s (Columbus, Ohio) University Hospital East has become the first medical facility in the U.S. to install the Somatom Emotion 16 computed tomography (CT) system. With 16-slice technology and a comprehensive set of clinical applications in a compact package, the Somatom Emotion 16 enables community hospitals and diagnostic imaging centers to benefit from high-level CT imaging.

Logical Images (Rochester, New York), a developer of software that helps clinicians make faster and more accurate diagnoses of bioterrorism and other visually diagnosable conditions, said that its flagship VisualDx software system has been chosen by the Delaware Division of Public Health for installation in hospitals statewide. The system is being funded through grants from the National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program, administered by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration (Rockville, Maryland).

VisualDx is an interactive software system that allows clinicians to input specific information based on their examination of a patient.

BioForce Nanosciences (Ames, Iowa) reported that the Iowa Department of Economic Development has approved a $500,000 award to the company from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA). The money will go to support commercialization of the company’s NanoArrayer technology for production of ultraminiaturized biomedical tests and devices.

Tm Bioscience (Toronto), a player in the commercial genetic testing market, has signed an agreement to supply PathGroup (Brentwood, Tennessee) with the Tag-It ASR reagents for use in its Cystic Fibrosis gene assay.

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