Applied Biosystems (Foster City, California), an Applera business, reported the introduction of the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System and an optional upgrade kit for the original 7500 Real-Time PCR System to the Fast configuration. Designed for scientists performing basic research, the 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System significantly reduces real-time PCR run times to less than 40 minutes from around two hours and uses 96-well format PCR reaction plates. Used with TaqMan Fast Universal PCR Master Mix, the system supports TaqMan Gene Expression Assays, Custom TaqMan Gene Expression Assays, Primer Express Software-designed assays and TaqMan Pre-Developed Assay Reagents.

Biomerica (Newport Beach, California) said a study published in the current issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that the single in-office fecal occult blood test used by most doctors is a poor screening method for colorectal neoplasia and that tests given to patients to do on their own at home were more reliable. Biomerica's screening test, EZ Detect, is the simplest at-home test available to detect fecal occult blood. EZ Detect is the only FDA-cleared test that does not require handling of the stool or dietary restrictions. The EZ Detect pad is tossed into the toilet after a bowel movement. A change in the pad's color to blue/green, which will appear within two minutes, indicates the presence of blood in the stool.

GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) has unveiled new cardiac imaging techniques developed with the world's first high-definition magnetic resonance (HDMR) system. The applications were launched at the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance's annual scientific sessions in San Francisco. HDMR provides physicians with what GE characterized as "unprecedented image clarity" of patients who are difficult to image due to movement. The exclusive-to-GE imaging techniques introduced at SCMR include 1.5 Tesla Excite HD MR Echo Cardiac Imaging, real-time imaging of the heart with the resolution of MR at the speed of ultrasound, without the need for breath-holding or ECG gating. The company said its MR Echo produces high-definition cardiac images in real time of the sickest of patients, providing clinicians with the contrast detail of MR with the real-time speed and ease of use of echocardiography. Also introduced was Excite HD TRICKS (Time-Resolved Imaging of Contrast KineticS) angiographic imaging, with a new 32-element peripheral 1.5 Tesla vascular coil providing images of the lower leg and foot vessels with what GE called "unprecedented definition." The company said TRICKS accelerates the temporal resolution of 3-D dynamic imaging, with clinicians able to acquire 12 times the amount of data typically collected in a conventional MR angiography exam. The company also is showing its ReportCARD tool, which it said "significantly reduces review, analysis and cardiac MR reporting time." HDMR, available on GE Signa 1.5 Tesla and 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance systems, enables massively simultaneous imaging in multiple channels in increments of 16.

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