A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS; Tustin, California), in conjunction with Columbus Children’s Hos- pital (Columbus, Ohio), has unveiled the Infinix cardiac bi-plane (CB-i) flat panel diagnostic imaging X-ray system, the first of its kind to be installed worldwide.

In addition, the system serves as the cornerstone of a newly opened and innovative pediatric unit at Columbus Children’s Hospital, the fifth-largest children’s hospital in the country.

The development of the Infinix CB-i flat panel system follows a successful, multi-year collaboration between Toshiba and Dr. John Cheatham, director, cardiac catheterization and interventional therapy in the Heart Center at Columbus Children’s Hospital.

Cheatham’s vision for a top-notch pediatric lab and the first dedicated hybrid catheterization suite in the world drove the technology’s development. “I am proud to have been involved in the development of this state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostic imaging technology. The system’s design aims to quickly and accurately diagnose patients and improve overall care and treatment,” he said.

The Infinix CB-i flat panel system has features such as the five-axis positioner, which provides fingertip-to-fingertip and head-to-toe coverage for diagnostic and interventional cath procedures.

The system provides two different views from a single injection, reducing overall contrast dose to patients and thereby ensuring less risk, TAMS said. The system is designed to offer easy access to the patient, while still providing the necessary views for imaging the anatomy, according to the company. A full 180-degree access to the patient can be provided, ensuring that multiple specialists can meet the patient’s needs quickly during the exam.

The flat-panel detectors deliver high-resolution images with uniform brightness and no distortion, the company said. The Tantalum X-ray beam filtration also minimizes dose to patients and staff. The system’s high frame rate and the short exposure times of bi-plane imaging allow clinicians to freeze the motion of rapidly moving hearts that are typical of pediatric patients, the company said.

Quest Diagnostics (Lyndhurst, New Jersey) reported signing an agreement with the State of California Department of Health Services (Sacramento) to provide follow-up laboratory testing under the recently expanded Newborn Screening Program of the agency’s Genetic Disease Branch.

As part of the state’s expanded Newborn Screening Program, Quest said it has begun providing confirmatory laboratory testing for newborns with abnormal screening test results for more than 30 genetic disorders that can be detected within days after a baby is born and before the newborn becomes ill. These disorders are caused by absent, inactive or malfunctioning enzymes and can lead to death and disability, if treatment is not begun soon after birth.

For example, in a recessive genetic disease known as maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), enzymes used to break down certain amino acids are either absent or inactive. Unless diagnosed and treated early, MSUD can be life-threatening.

George Cunningham, MD, chief of the Genetic Disease Branch, said Quest was selected because of its “demonstrated strength as a biochemical genetics laboratory.”

Joyce Schwartz, MD, vice president and chief laboratory officer of Quest, noted that the company is the only laboratory in California to provide the follow-up testing for its newborn screening. “It is an awesome responsibility to be in charge of confirmatory testing for the approximately 600,000 newborns that are expected to be born in California this year ... [W]e are privileged to be in a position to give parents and physicians the information they need within days after birth.”

Every state and U.S. territory routinely screens newborns for certain genetic, metabolic, hormonal and functional disorders. According to the California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Elk Grove Village, Illinois), each newborn has a one-in-885 chance of having a positive screening test, and with expanded screening it is estimated that one out of 1,000 newborns will be diagnosed with a specific detectable disorder.

In other contract and agreement news:

GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) reported that it has formed a collaborative agreement with the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration & Repair (HCNR; Cam-bridge, Massachusetts) to use GE Healthcare’s cellular imaging system, the IN Cell Analyzer, to enhance research of the human central nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. HCNR and GE will collaborate to develop software tools to aid in speeding disease analysis. The IN Cell Analyzer is an imaging system used to analyze cellular processes in disease definition and drug development.

The HCNR was established to develop therapies for neurodegenerative diseases through collaborative translational research. The new imaging system will help scientists decipher the molecular and pathological mechanisms of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and multiple sclerosis.

“This collaboration could result in a better understanding of degenerative diseases that affect the brain, which is currently not well understood by the medical community,” said Stephen Wong, PhD, director of the HCNR Center for Bioinformatics and an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School (Boston).

Vital Images (Minneapolis), a provider of enterprise-wide visualization and analysis solutions, has signed an integration and reseller agreement with DR Systems (San Diego), a provider of integrated RIS/PACS solutions. Under this agreement, the DR Systems sales force will resell Vital Images’ Vitrea 2 software to its customers as an add-on component to the DR Systems Dominator RIS/PACS solution.

The two companies also agreed to work jointly to integrate the Vitrea 2 software into the Dominator PACS diagnostic reading workstation to ensure smooth and seamless workflow for their mutual customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“The agreement with DR Systems is an important part of our strategy to expand the clinical benefits of advanced visualization throughout the healthcare enterprise,” said Jay Miller, Vital Images president and CEO.

Accessing Vitrea through the Dominator RIS/PACS system will allow hospitals and clinics to acquire, distribute and manage advanced visualization and diagnostic reports across the healthcare system. With the integration, large volumes of image data can be sent directly to the Dominator workstation, where radiologists can access Vitrea’s advan-ced visualization and analysis tools and review the image data seamlessly without interrupting the workflow.

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