• Biophan Technologies (West Henrietta, New York) reported the filing of 12 new patents, expanding the company’s intellectual property portfolio to more than 200 patents, applications or licenses. The new patents deal with how a tiny circuit can be added to minimize dangerous heating that can occur when devices such as pacemaker and neurostimulator leads are exposed to MRI signals. The circuits are powered by the energy in the MRI field and dissipate the energy so that heating does not occur. The circuits can be tuned to specific frequencies, such as the frequencies associated with 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla MRI machines. The company said the 12 patent filings focus on the ways that these circuits can reduce heating on many types of medical devices that suffer from MRI safety limitations, including implantable devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators and neurostimulators, devices used for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and pain control, as well as stimulation devices for obesity control, gastrointestinal and bladder control. In addition to implantable devices, the technology applies to devices used in interventional medicine, including catheters, guidewires and other surgical tools.

• GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, UK) has launched its Rediflo prefilled cartridges with X-ray contrast agent Omnipaque (iohexol) injection. The cartridges are compatible with Medrad’s (Indianola, Pennsylvania) EnVision CT and Vistron CT injection systems. GE said a key feature of the cartridge design is the FluiDot optical indicator technology developed by Medrad. When the FluiDot is viewed through a filled clear polymer cartridge, it appears perfectly round; when viewed through an empty cartridge, the FluiDot takes on an elliptical form. GE said this feature reduces the risk of accidentally injecting air into a patient. Peel-off tracking labels allow users to label patient charts with relevant information about the contrast agent being administered.

• Sepal Reproductive Devices (SRD; Sudbury, Massachusetts) said its new AmniSure test for rupture of fetal membranes (ROM) in pregnant women was featured in a clinical study in the July issue of the American Journal of Perinatology. The purpose of the study was to compare the AmniSure rapid immunoassay with standard methods for diagnosing rupture of fetal membranes. The AmniSure test demonstrated a sensitivity of 98.9%, specificity of 100%, positive predictive value of 100%, and a negative predictive value of 99.1%. AmniSure non-invasively detects placental alpha microglobulin-1 (PAMG-1), a protein that is abundant in amniotic fluid. SRD said AmniSure said semen, urine and vaginal infections do not interfere with the efficacy of the test.

The Sigma division of Sigma- Aldrich (St. Louis) said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company U.S. Patent Number 6,942,964, titled “Tracer Reagents that Enhance Reaction-Product Analysis,” covering the array of direct-load RED enzymes already being offered in Sigma’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product line. REDTaq products are a blend of various DNA polymerases combined with an inert red dye that allows quick visual confirmation of enzyme addition and reaction homogeneity, according to the company. The sample also can be loaded directly onto an agarose gel for electrophoresis following PCR. The red dye has no effect on downstream applications, Sigma said.

• Tm Bioscience (Toronto) said that Genzyme Genetics, a provider of complex diagnostic testing services, has launched its upgraded CFplus cystic fibrosis mutation analysis, which now includes testing for 97 mutations. The CFplus assay incorporates technology from Tm Bioscience that was developed in a collaborative effort. “Our collaboration with Genzyme Genetics has produced one of the most innovative and technically advanced products available in the area of molecular diagnostics, made possible through our Tag-It platform,” said Greg Hines, president and CEO of Tm Bioscience, a company whose product menu is focused in the fields of human genetic disorders, pharmacogenetics and infectious disease.

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