• Beckman Coulter (Fullerton, California) reported adding an application to its Coulter LH 750 hematology analyzers that automates the analysis of body fluids for greater lab efficiency and labor savings. With the new application, laboratories using the LH 750 can analyze three types of body fluids: cerebrospinal fluid, serous fluids (pleural, peritoneal, pericardial) and synovial fluids (pretreated with hyaluronidase). The automated process improves test turnaround time and enhances overall lab productivity. The body fluid application also helps labs eliminate errors associated with manual cell counting, Beckman Coulter said. The LH 750 with body fluid analysis performs automated cell counting and immediately displays results for red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) or total nucleated cells. The system indicates if the tested sample is a body fluid or a whole blood sample. All other parameters are suppressed, which helps simplify reporting to patient charts. In addition, the system's standardized testing method performs calculations based on units used in complete blood counts and evaluates a large number of cells within an established linearity range. This helps reduce variability of low and high counts for WBC and RBC analysis. The LH 750 is a member of Beckman Coulter's line of LH 700 series hematology systems.

• iCAD (Nashua, New Hampshire) reported the release of its ClearLook CAD (computer-aided detection) Image Characterization Package. ClearLook is used together with iCAD's Radiologist Review Station, which presents breast images marked to show suspicious features on a display screen typically located where mammographic films are read. ClearLook offers high-resolution zoom capabilities enabling enlargement of any area of the breast image presented, plus descriptive data related to masses and calcifications in the region of interest, helping the radiologist understand why a particular set of features was marked. The ClearLook package, available as an option for the company's Second Look 500 Mammographic CAD systems, will also be available as an option on iCAD's recently reported, category-defining Second Look 300 system for early detection of breast cancer.

• Sigma Medical (Irving, Texas), a division of Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis), reported launch of a new genome amplification kit, GenomePlex Whole Genome Amplification (WGA). In October, Sigma entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Rubicon Genomics to further develop and commercialize the GenomePlex WGA technology, a kit that utilizes a proprietary amplification method designed for robust amplification of limited-source DNA. In less than three hours, GenomePlex WGA amplifies nanogram amounts of starting DNA into microgram yields. The new kit is sufficient for 50 reactions and recommended to be used with Sigma's JumpStart Taq DNA Polymerase. Additions to the whole genome amplification product line for 2005 are expected to include a kit sufficient for 100 reactions and a kit with JumpStart Taq DNA Polymerase included, according to Sigma.

• SonoSite (Bothell, Washington) said that it has begun customer shipments of the SonoCalc IMT software, enabling physicians to quickly measure the wall thickness (IMT) of the common carotid arteries and assess a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease. Used in conjunction with the Titan system — SonoSite's high-resolution, hand-carried ultrasound technology — the SonoCalc IMT software enables physicians to identify disease at an early stage for more effective management. The PC-based software works with digital images downloaded from the Titan system. The company said the technology offers physicians a low-cost and non-invasive means to identify cardiovascular disease early when it is both treatable and reversible. Introduced at the 2004 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association in November, SonoSite's SonoCalc IMT automated edge-detection technology provides physicians with the ability to analyze the IMT of a patient's carotid artery and compare it with published population data to generate an individualized cardiovascular health profile report. The software provides fully automated, single-click IMT measurement capability; semi-automated, user-guided IMT sketch or trace measurements for difficult images; statistical analysis of multiple IMT measurements; patient-specific exam electronic file management; and professional report generation summarizing one or more IMT examinations for a particular patient.

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