A Medical Device Daily

Correlogic Systems (Bethesda, Maryland) reported a research collaboration with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU; also Betheseda) and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (Rockville, Maryland).

Under the agreement, USU’s Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR) and the foundation will collaborate with Correlogic on a study of up to 2,000 men with specified prostate cancer conditions in order to further expand research on the use of the company’s protein pattern recognition approach and technology in prostate cancer.

Correlogic said the agreement provides for two concurrent studies.

The first will expand the company’s research on the use of its “hidden patterns” approach and ProteomeDx pattern recognition technology to the detection of prostate cancer. The goal is to develop a more effective blood test for the detection of prostate cancer.

The company said the current prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is most accurate for men whose PSA levels are outside the 2.5-10 ng/ml range. It noted that men whose PSA levels are within the 2.5-10 ng/ml “gray zone” frequently undergo prostate biopsies, although some 75% are ultimately determined not to have prostate cancer. “For these men a blood test that is a more accurate indicator could reduce the need for painful, invasive and costly procedures,” Correlogic said.

The second study will center on men undergoing radical prostatectomies to determine whether the company’s approach and technology can be extended to distinguish between indolent and aggressive prostate cancer.

It said that because most cases of prostate cancer are slow-growing, and life quality effects of prostate cancer treatment can be a concern, “distinguishing whether a prostate cancer is aggressive is highly important in determining the extent or necessity of treatment.” Currently there is no effective prospective test for determining the aggressiveness of prostate cancer in most men, the company said in a statement.

Dr. Shiv Srivastava, scientific director of the Center for Prostate Disease Research, said, “The goal of this combination of the technology and research capacity of Correlogic and the CPDR is improved diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Because of the prevalence of prostate cancer, a prognostic blood test would be an important development to all men.”

The American Cancer Society (Atlanta) estimates that more than 232,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and that about 30,350 men will die of the disease. It says that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes.

Correlogic Systems is focused on the development and application of pattern recognition in disease detection. It has developed technology and processes with a variety of applications for biomarker discovery, disease detection and new drug discovery. The initial application has been in the field of proteomics, with concentration on the early detection of prostate, ovarian, breast and other cancers.

In other grants/contracts news:

Atom Sciences (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) was awarded a $100,000 Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (Bethesda, Maryland) Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a diagnostic tool for tuberculosis.

Atom Sciences said the diagnostic method, called Limited Primer Extension, or LPE, can screen clinical samples for the bacterium that causes human tuberculosis. It also can test, at the same time, for related infectious agents that cause tuberculosis-like symptoms.

Dr. Richard Hurt, inventor of the technology and staff research scientist at Atom Sciences, will head the project. He said, “Current molecular diagnostic kits for TB detection identify only whether the TB pathogen is present or absent. They don’t provide any information about the cause of TB-like symptoms if the TB pathogen is absent. LPE provides this additional information and therefore reduces the overall cost of treatment.”

Dr. Tom Whitaker, president and CEO of Atom Sciences, emphasized that there are many other applications of the LPE technology besides TB testing, some with ramifications for homeland security. “LPE technology can identify bacterial or viral sources of infection for many diseases,” he said. “The capability to simultaneously test for a large number of pathogens makes it ideal for use by first responders in the case of a bioterrorist attack.”

Molecular Pathology Laboratory Network (MPLN; Maryville, Tennessee), a clinical diagnostics reference laboratory, provided the needed clinical evaluation of the LPE technique and assisted in writing the proposal to NIH.

Dr. Neil Quigley, director of research and development at MPLN, noted that an important aspect of the LPE technology is cost savings. “One of the reasons MPLN is interested in LPE applications is their potential to reduce the costs of clinical diagnostic testing. This innovative process could yield a substantial cost savings in both clinical diagnostics and in overall healthcare costs paid by providers and patients.”

Cardiology Associates (Mobile, Alabama), a 25-physician cardiology group, has installed the GE LightSpeed Volume CT (VCT) Scanner from GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin).

The LightSpeed VCT is the world’s first volume CT system. It is able to non-invasively capture the image of any organ in one second, perform a whole body scan in fewer than 10 seconds and capture images of the human heart in fewer than five heartbeats.

In a single rotation, the LightSpeed VCT system creates 64 images of the heart, totaling 40 mm of anatomical coverage. Those images are combined to form a 3-D view of the patient’s anatomy for a physician to analyze. The LightSpeed VCT can attain 43 millisecond temporal resolution, which means doctors can effectively “freeze” the motion of the heart, helping to ensure a highly accurate representation of the human heart and arteries.

“Historically, heart motion has made cardiovascular CT scans challenging,” said Dr. Gerry Phillips, president of Cardiology Associates. He said that the rapid action and multiple images inherent to LightSpeed VCT “could become the greatest revolution in cardiovascular care since the diagnostic heart catheter."