IMI International Medical Innovations (Toronto) reported launching a pivotal clinical study for its non-invasive breast cancer detection test in collaboration with the University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky). IMI's test identifies a cancer-associated sugar in a sample of nipple-aspirate fluid, derived from the mammary ducts and is based on a modified version of the company's ColorectAlert and LungAlert technology, which identify a cancer-associated sugar in samples of rectal mucus and sputum respectively. Anees Chagpar, MD, assistant professor in the department of surgery of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the University of Louisville, the principal investigator, said that in initial studies the test demonstrated a significant difference "between early-stage breast cancer and non-cancerous samples."

LifeWatch (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) said that a study published in the May 1 edition of the American Journal of Cardiology concludes that 30-day auto-trigger monitors, such as those made by LifeWatch, provide better arrhythmia detection than Holter and standard looping monitors. Researchers examined the records of 1,800 patients selected from the LifeWatch 2003 database, 600 monitored on three different methods of ambulatory cardiac monitoring, including Holter, Looping Memory and auto-trigger Looping Memory. Holter monitors are worn for 24 or 48 hours; Standard Looping-Memory monitors are worn for up to 30 days and are manually activated by the patient to record ECG information both immediately before and after a symptom is detected; and the Auto-Trigger Looping-Memory monitors, also worn for up to 30 days, can self-activate (and also be manually activated) in the event of irregularities. The auto-trigger devices "produced twice the diagnostic yield of standard looping-memory devices and six times the yield of Holter devices," the researchers said. LifeWatch reports more than 40,000 patients monitored on its LifeStar AF auto-trigger devices, and it is the exclusive provider of auto-trigger AF services. LifeWatch is a wholly owned subsidiary of Card Guard (Rehovot, Israel).

Medwave (Danvers, Massachusetts), a developer of sensor-based, non-invasive blood pressure measuring systems, reported that a study titled "A Comparison of The Vasotrac With Invasive Arterial Blood Pressure Monitoring in Children After Pediatric Cardiac Surgery" was published in the May issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia. The researchers concluded that the arterial blood pressure measurements obtained from Medwave's Vasotrac system agreed with invasive arterial blood pressure monitoring in children after cardiac surgery and "may be an alternative for obtaining near continuous arterial blood pressure data non-invasively in this pediatric patient population."

Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania) introduced the Axiom Artis dBC Magnetic Navigation Sys-tem, designed to improve the accuracy of catheter-based procedures. The technology features a configuration enabling use of the system either as a biplane angiography C-arm system or as a magnetic navigation system. It is based on Siemens' Axiom Artis dBC, a flat detector biplane angiography system for diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac interventions, and its Axiom Artis dFC Magnetic Navigation System, which enables navigation of medical devices such as catheter- and guidewire-based devices within the heart and coronary vasculature. Combined, these features result in the Artis dBC Magnetic Navigation System, which the company calls "the world's first biplane magnetic navigation system equipped with digital flat panel detectors in both planes," and allowing the system to perform as either a biplane or a single plane magnetic navigation system. The system's flat panel detector technology enables improved image quality by converting X-ray data into digital images, Siemens said. The Axiom Artis dBC system integrates Siemens' most advanced digital fluoroscopic imaging system, the Axiom Artis dFC (Flat Panel Detector System), with Stereotaxis's Niobe Magnetic Navigation System. Using computer-controlled permanent magnets external to the body for orienting the magnetic tip of specially designed catheters and guidewires, the system allows for 360-degree rotation of the catheter for greater precision and better movement.

Toshiba America Medical Systems (Tustin, California) said it demonstrated its 64-slice cardiac computed tomography (CT) performance of the Aquilion 64 CFX at the Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS; Houma, Louisi-ana). CIS is one of the largest heart centers for non-surgical and surgical treatment of both heart and vascular disease in the U.S. "Clearly, the Aquilion 64 CFX image quality and breath-hold of five to 10 seconds has its advantages," said Peter Fail, MD, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories and interventional research at CIS. "It has resulted in virtually all studies being of diagnostic quality." He added: "Ultimately, the thinner slices and outstanding low-contrast resolution of the Aquilion 64 CFX will improve the sensitivity of plaque characterization algorithms."

Ultrasonix Medical (Barnaby, British Columbia) reported launch of its Sonix SP, an ultrasound solution for multi-disciplinary imaging. The Sonix SP uses an open PC-based operating architecture, and offers3-D and 4-D imaging. It also is equipped with Q Sonix, a quick exam "wizard," which walks the user through patient data entry, application pre-sets and probe selection.