A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Diametrics Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) said last week that its wholly owned UK subsidiary, TGC Research Ltd., has acquired certain assets from the liquidator of Diametrics Medical Ltd. (DML).

DML, formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of Diametrics Medical, was placed into liquidation last Nov. 22.

The assets acquired by TGC included certain equipment, intellectual property and trademarks of DML. Those assets are expected to form the core of a new product research and development program that TGC will begin implementing early next month, initially focused on a line of products aimed at monitoring and controlling glucose on a continuous basis in critically ill patients at the point of care in a hospital setting.

Initial product introduction is expected within 18 to 24 months, Diametrics Medical said, followed by continued improvements, enhancements and expansion of the product line.

The company said that as a result of a significant study on controlling glucose within tight parameters published in November 2001, along with other studies, tight glycemic control protocols have changed practice patterns in virtually all intensive care unit (ICU) settings around the world. During a session at last February's Society of Critical Care Medicine annual congress, 80% of all attendees indicated that their hospitals had instituted some form of tight glycemic control.

David Kaysen, Diametrics president and CEO, said, "Published clinical evidence, we believe, has conclusively demonstrated that maintaining patients within strict glycemic limits a clinical practice known as tight glycemic control, or TGC can dramatically reduce mortality, risk of infection and other complications." He added: "The most cost-effective way to achieve optimal glycemic control is by the continuous monitoring of glucose, a measurement modality that is not currently available in intensive care units."

Kaysen said Diametrics' "new focus as a company will be to develop a product system that will effectively and accurately measure glucose, on a continuous basis, in critically ill hospitalized patients. We believe our product offering, when introduced to the market, will allow clinicians around the world to maintain tight glycemic control in this patient population, which we believe represents a significant opportunity for our company."

Expanded involvement in Saudi Arabia

Trestle Holdings (Irvine, California), a supplier of digital imaging and telemedicine applications, said it has been selected as a technology partner for the MeduNet telepathology infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, broadening its existing involvement with the program, which provides advanced technology solutions throughout the Arab world.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Shamekh, director general of MeduNet, a program of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation, said, "Through telemedicine, videoconferencing and distance learning applications, the region will be linked to an unprecedented panel of professionals from around the globe."

He said MeduNet client organizations include the largest healthcare providers in Saudi Arabia, including the Ministry of Defense and Aviation Medical Service Department and its more than 30 hospitals and healthcare centers, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh and Jeddah, Erfan Hospital in Jeddah and others.

"The addition of Trestle's telepathology solution expands the capabilities of MeduNet in a key area of pathology," Al-Shamekh added.

Maurizio Vecchione, CEO of Trestle, said his company's relationship with MeduNet was begun in 2001 with the implementation of its telemedicine technology to provide access to high-quality medical care throughout the kingdom. "The expansion by MeduNet to include our telepathology solutions represents a vote of confidence in our technology. What MeduNet is attempting to do illustrates the power of modern telecommunication and digital imaging technology, with the potential to dramatically transform medical practice."

Vecchione said Trestle's technology would be incorporated into "what we believe might be one of the most far-reaching and ambitious telemedicine and telepathology programs in the world in both scope and size."

Trestle's digital imaging and telemedicine products link geographically dispersed users with each other, information databases and analytical tools.

VScan test kits going to Sri Lanka

Medical Services International (MSI; Edmonton, Alberta) said shipments of its VScan test kits to Sri Lanka will begin by the end of this week to help deal with any outbreak of Dengue fever in the wake of the tsunami disaster in Southeastern Asia.

Noting that Dengue fever is very prevalent in Sri Lanka and surrounding areas, MSI said that with the increase in standing water as a result of the tsunami, there will be a significant increase in the mosquito populations and likely an increase in Dengue fever.

"With the shortage of laboratory facilities [in the affected region] and the length of time to get results," said the company, "the VScan Dengue Fever test kit will be very helpful."

The VScan test kit requires no medical facilities, no refrigeration, can be administered by non-medical personnel and gives results in less than 10 minutes. The single-use kit also is used for the screening of HIV 1 & 2, hepatitis B & C, tuberculosis and West Nile virus.