• ACMI(Southborough, Massachusetts), a developer of endoscopy technologies, reported launch of its all-digital Invisio Flexible CystoNephroscope (ICN). Benefits of the ICN, ACMI said, include “seven times better resolution, simplicity of use and lower cost, vs. traditional fiber optic endoscopes.” ACMI’s ICN employs an ultra-miniature digital video sensor at the tip of the endoscope and built-in LEDs for illumination rather than fiber optic image bundles, large eyepieces, snap-on cameras and high-intensity light sources, as found in conventional endoscopes. The ICN also uses a small CMOS imaging sensor placed at the tip of the endoscope to capture full-motion video images in digital format. Illumination of the surgical site is provided by white light LEDs built into the endoscope. ACMI’s digital endoscopy technology is being developed by the company’s engineers in the U.S. and by engineers at ACMI’s CByond subsidiary in Nesher, Israel acquired by ACMI in 2004. ACMI is a Fox Paine & Co. company.

• Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (Vancouver) reported positive preliminary safety results for its Vascular Wrap paclitaxel-eluting mesh trial. This first-in-man study is designed to evaluate the safety and performance of the Vascular Wrap in preventing stenosis after peripheral bypass surgery. The wrap is applied around the anastomosis site of a synthetic bypass graft and delivers drug to the blood vessel wall to prevent or reduce the renarrowing of an artery that typically follows this surgery, Angiotech said. The study randomized patients with peripheral vascular disease in a 2:1 fashion, the treatment arm enrolling patients with a synthetic bypass graft plus the Vascular Wrap mesh, the control arm enrolling patients with a synthetic bypass graft alone. Preliminary assessment at six months indicated that the Vascular Wrap was safe in this patient population, and there was no difference in safety between the two groups, Angiotech said. The study involved 109 patients at nine clinical centers in Europe as well as the Dutch Antilles. Angiotech is a leader in combining pharma compounds with medical devices and biomaterials.

• C.R. Bard (Murray Hill, New Jersey) reported that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients who underwent a minimally invasive procedure using the company’s EndoCinch Suturing System, significantly reduced symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation and their dependence on medications for at least two years, according to the first long-term outcomes study of endoscopic gastroplication patients. The EndoCinch system is a suturing device passed down the throat through a flexible endoscope. There, it is used to place stitches just below the esophagus to create a pleat to help prevent acid from flowing from the stomach back up the esophagus. “Long-term Outcomes of Endoluminal Gastroplication: A U.S. Multi-Center Trial,” was published in the May edition of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. The Bard-supported study was conducted on more than 80 patients, measuring heartburn frequency and severity, incidence of regurgitation, and level of medication use at 12 and 24 months post-procedure. The study showed a reduction in median medication costs of 88% at two years and that at 12 and 24 months: 70% and 66% of patients, respectively, had no or minimal regurgitation; 50% and 43%, respectively, had no or minimal heartburn; and 73% and 69%, respectively, had either stopped taking their GERD medications or had reduced them by at least half. The procedure, Bard said, normally performed in one hour or less, usually only requires moderate sedation “and does not limit further treatment options.”