A Medical Device Daily

Agilent Technologies’ (Palo Alto, California) Human Genome CGH Microarray technology will be used by researchers at Peter MacCallum Cancer Center (Melbourne, Australia) in a three-year study designed to better understand mesothelioma, the company said.

Mesothelioma is a cancer found in the lining of the chest, the abdominal cavity and around the heart, usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Agilent noted that due to its active mining and manufacturing of asbestos in the mid-1900s, Australia has the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world. Rates of the disease have tripled in the past 20 years and are expected to peak about 2010.

The company noted that diagnosis of this type of cancer is difficult, and patients often are not identified until the condition is “quite advanced.”

Agilent said its new microarray techniques in comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) would allow researchers to “rapidly and reliably identify genetic changes in tumorous cells.” The company said it is believed that specific genetic changes may accompany the onset and progression of the disease.

Dr. Andrew Holloway of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center said his team will work in conjunction with colleagues at the University of Western Australia (Perth), using Agilent’s CGH microarray to provide a more thorough understanding of the genetic makeup of mesothelioma cells, which may ultimately lead to increased knowledge of the origins and development of this and other cancers.

“[The] CGH technology will allow us to study the entire genome in a manner that hasn’t been possible in previous genomics research,” said Holloway. “Upon completion, this project will produce the largest data set of its kind on mesothelioma in the world. We are very optimistic that it will give us a much clearer understanding and interpretation of this devastating disease.”

He added: “We hope the outcome of this work will have a major effect on mesothelioma research. The Australian economy will need $5 billion to fund the compensation, treatment and management of mesothelioma in the community, so this research is critical in working toward minimizing these costs, with the eventual hope of developing tools for earlier diagnosis and treatment.”

David Tunks, product manager for integrated biology solutions at Agilent, said: “[Our] new CGH microarray platform provides very high sensitivity, enabling researchers to detect small changes in chromosomes, including single copy deletions, which have previously been the most difficult to find.”

India lab firm works with Biomoda

Biomoda (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Metropolis Health Systems (Mumbai, India) have entered into an agreement for Metropolis to provide clinical samples for Biomoda’s diagnostic test development program.

Validation studies for Biomoda’s products for the early detection and targeted treatment of specific cancers will be supported by the services of Metropolis Health Services, the largest independent pathology laboratory system in India.

“This represents a critical step as we accelerate development,” said Biomoda President John Cousins, “initially as a major source of clinical sampling and as an ongoing international strategic alliance with our targeted customer base in a significant part of the world.”

Metropolis Health Services has eight central laboratories, catering to the needs of more than 3,000 small laboratories, nursing homes, hospitals and more than 10,000 consultants, and processing more than 5 million samples per year.

Biomoda, a development stage in vitro diagnostics company, is focused on research, development and commercialization of cancer diagnostics. Its laboratory operations are situated at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

Distribution deal on orthodontic product

Rocky Mountain Orthodontics (RMO; Denver) reported an agreement with Jeil Medical (Seoul, South Korea) to be the exclusive distributor of the Asian firm’s titanium screws for orthodontic implants in North America.

Jeil screws provide fixed anchorage for the implants, which facilitate orthodontic movement. They are for temporary use for a specific procedure, and are removed when that procedure is completed.

According to RMO, implants employing Jeil screws eliminate the need for patient compliance associated with other treatment protocols. They also have been shown to reduce the need for surgeries and extractions and to shorten treatment time. Only a local anesthetic is needed for placing the screw, and no anesthesia is required for screw removal.

Clinical applications for the implant system include upper molar intrusion, lower molar protraction, molar positioning controlled in all directions, anterior cross-bites, open bites and upper molar distalization.

Nanogen in genomics agreement with deCode

Nanogen (San Diego), a developer of advanced diagnostic products, reported that it has entered into a supply and license agreement with deCode Genetics (Reykjavik, Iceland) to provide a new genomics assay for single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery, validation and screening.

“The products and assay that we will provide deCode represent our comprehensive product menu available from the recent merger of Nanogen and Epoch Biosciences,” said Howard Birndorf, Nanogen’s chairman and CEO.

The assay incorporates a range of Nanogen’s products, including the Eclipse Dark Quencher, new DNA linker technology, modified bases and fluorescent dyes, and allows rapid SNP analysis on a large number of patient samples.