A Medical Device Daily

The UK Department of Health has budgeted 3 million of extra funding to help in the battle against obesity. Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson said the new money will be split among the nine regions of England, targeted for primary care trusts (PCTs) in the country's most deprived areas.

“Obesity has rapidly become a serious problem, with over half of the population recorded as either overweight or obese,“ Johnson said. “It is essential that people eat healthily and stay active if they are to stave off the threat of killer diseases like cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.“

Saying “we can't force people to be healthy [or] tell them how to lead their lives,“ she added: “What we can do is provide them with the information, advice and support to make their own choices. And this job starts with the healthcare professionals.“

Johnson said the 3 million will go to make sure such professionals receive “the necessary training to not only get people thinking about the things they eat and how to be more active, but to support them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.“

In announcing the funding, the Department of Health cited research showing that some healthcare professionals, including general practitioners (GPs), are both uncomfortable about raising the issue of weight with patients and not confident on the advice they should be giving — especially regarding physical activity.

As a result, the department said a directory will be produced to give PCTs an idea of the different types of training courses available for obesity prevention and management. The directory will be expanded as more training resources become available.

One of the examples to be included in the directory is “The Counterweight Program,“ a course run by dieticians that offers nurses and GPs training and support over a six-month period. Following an initial session, the training staff visits physicians' offices to help nurses and GPs test their new skills out on the job.

Training resources can vary from guidance on ways to encourage physical activity among patients to training on helping patients make behavioral changes.

CeMines subsidiary helps found VTAK

CeMines (Golden, Colorado) said its CeMines Estonia OU (Tallinn, Estonia) subsidiary has co-founded VTAK, a privately held company focused on research and commercialization of diagnostic and therapeutic products for cancer.

VTAK involves strategic cooperation among private industry, academia and government. In addition to CeMines Estonia, other co-founders include Tallinn Technical University, Helsinki Yliopiston Saatio, Regional Hospital of North Estonia, ProSyntest AS, Kevelt AS, CeleCure AS, Trial Form Support AB and InBio OU.

VTAK was formed under the Estonian Competence Center Program, in conjunction with Partnership Estonia and the Estonian government. Competence centers are R&D institutions established and operated by private enterprise and academic institutions.

The mission of VTAK is to ensure a strong focus on applied scientific research, product development and product commercialization.

Roger Attick, CEO of CeMines, said, “VTAK is truly an innovative concept. I am increasingly impressed by Estonia's determination and actions to attract new enterprise.“

He added: “When we announced the creation of our International Division in December 2004, I said [that] a comprehensive international business strategy is critical to securing long-term competitive advantages for CeMines.“ He called Estonia “an ideal venue from which to amplify our research and development initiatives, as well as sustain a regulatory affairs presence in the European Union.“

CeMines is developing minimally invasive clinical diagnostic tests and targeted therapeutics for cancer. Its Molecular FingerPrinting bioinformatics process is used in identifying and profiling cancer cells.

Glaucoma treatment trial under way

Coronado Industries (Fountain Hills, Arizona) reported that enrollment and patient treatment have begun at five Italian glaucoma centers involved in a clinical study of its Pneumatic Trabeculoplasty (PNT) device and procedure.

PNT offers what Coronado describes as “a cost-effective alternative to surgery and multiple pharmaceutical agents“ for the treatment of glaucoma.

The company's wholly owned subsidiary, Ophthalmic International, said the study — being coordinated by its Italian distribution partner, Eupharmed — involves about 120 patients not adequately controlled on current pharmaceutical therapies.

The study and protocol were designed to fulfill some of the requirements needed for approval by the FDA in the U.S. The data generated during the study also will provide additional information for doctors and patients on the use of PNT in the treatment of primary open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

G. Richard Smith, president of Coronado Industries, said, “The early results from Italy are in line with the results we have reported previously, including the results outlined in [a] peer-reviewed paper that will appear in the March issue of Annals of Ophthalmology. As more physicians and patients become aware of PNT, the demand will grow rapidly."

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