ASH Meeting Addresses Developments in Treating Blood Disorders
Approximately 20,000 physicians and scientists from around the world gathered for the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), December 6–9, 2003, at the San Diego Convention Center. Researchers and other experts presented the latest findings in the field of hematology, covering topics ranging from leukemia and lymphoma to thrombosis and stem cells.

 “The ASH annual meeting is the premier event for academic and practicing hematologists throughout the world, providing a unique forum for hematologists to learn about scientific and clinical advances in the area of hematology research,” says Ronald Hoffman, MD, president of ASH.

The plenary policy forum addressed health insurance coverage issues in the United States; the plenary scientific session presented state-of-the-art research in the field of hematology; and the presidential symposium covered epigenetics in hematology. Abstracts reported on advances related to lymphoma, deep-vein thrombosis, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and gene-expression profiling, and polycythemia vera.

Zhen-Yi Wang, MD, professor of medicine and pathophysiology at the Shanghai Second Medical University, presented the annual Ham-Wasserman Lecture, “Treatment of Acute Leukemia by Inducing Differentiation and Apoptosis.” Dr Ernest Beutler presented the E. Donnall Thomas Award Lecture, “Gaucher Disease: Multiple Lessons from a Single Gene Disease.” The work of Dr Beutler and his colleagues has resulted in the development of a diagnostic blood test to detect the disease.

“ASH is committed to identifying the latest developments in the hematology field,” says Stanley Schrier, MD, president-elect of ASH. “The ASH meeting provides a vehicle for scientists to gather and share data, learn new techniques, and discuss new ways to save lives and help prevent hematologic diseases from developing in healthy individuals.”

Contact: the American Society of Hematology, (202) 955-6222

ICP Medical Laboratory Evaluation Program Wins Five-Year Contract with GSA
Medical Laboratory Evaluation (MLE), a program of American College of Physicians Services Inc (ACP) has been awarded a five-year contract by the General Services Administration (GSA), the US federal government’s agency-support network.

 This contract will place MLE on the GSA’s list of approved vendors with negotiated contracts, making it easy for any government entity to utilize MLE’s proficiency testing services. Such testing is a major component of quality-assurance programs, and remains the standard of competency most heavily weighed by regulatory inspectors.

“This contract will build awareness of proficiency testing service within the government’s global market,” says Constance Laubenthal, director of MLE. “US governmental medical laboratories worldwide may now use our service just by clicking a mouse, and thereby skip the long bid process required for noncontracted vendors.”

MLE administers a service-oriented proficiency testing program that provides technical and educational tools necessary to assess, monitor, and improve the quality of laboratory testing.

Contact: Medical Laboratory Evaluation (MLE), (800) 338-2746

 Franek Technologies to Offer Course on Disaster Preparedness
Recent natural disasters such as the wildfires in southern California, the massive power-grid failure in the Northeast, and the nationwide power failures in Italy, Denmark, and southern Sweden, have heightened awareness of the importance of putting safeguards in place to protect critical data from corruption or complete loss.

In response to the need for awareness, Franek Technologies is offering a course focusing on laboratory disaster preparedness. The course, entitled Power Protection of Mission Critical Medical and Laboratory Equipment, will be presented at the University of California, Irvine on January 24. It will emphasize laboratory data loss prevention. Case studies will be examined to illustrate how disastrous situations could have been avoided had specific measures been instituted.

Attendance is recommended for all laboratory managers, principal investigators, and quality assurance personnel. Those interested in registering should call (949) 824-5414.

Contact: Franek Technologies, (714) 734-5656

AAB Proficiency Testing Service Approved as an Alternate PT Provider
The American Association of Bioanalysts’ (AAB) Proficiency Testing Service (PTS) was recently approved by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) as an alternate proficiency testing provider for 2004. Clinical laboratories may now secure and maintain CAP accreditation while using AAB as their proficiency-testing source.

As of November 2003, almost 150 analytes that AAB’s Proficiency Testing Services offers were approved by CAP. AAB is working with CAP to obtain approval of any remaining analytes.

AAB’s PTS is one of the nation’s largest full-service proficiency testing programs. It is also approved for all analytes by CLIA, JCAHO, COLA, and all state agencies to satisfy proficiency testing requirements.

Contact: American Association of Bioanalysts, (800) 234-5315

IRIS Completes $1.685 Million Private Placement
International Remote Imaging Systems Inc (IRIS) recently announced that it has completed a private placement of 500,000 shares of common stock with a group of institutional investors. Proceeds to the company are worth $1.685 million.

SIAR Capital, an independent investment fund that invests primarily in undervalued, emerging-growth companies, led the group of investors that included Dolphin Asset Management. Both are based in New York City. The two other members of the group raised their stakes in the company under an agreement in which all of the participants purchased unregistered shares with future registration rights.

Jack Silver of SIAR Capital commented, “We have concluded after significant due diligence on [IRIS], that it has the technology, the products, and the potential markets to be successful. In our assessment, the company has an experienced and capable management team. We are excited to have invested in IRIS.”

The financial intermediary arranging the private placement was the Wall Street Group Inc, a New York City financial services and communications firm.

Contact: International Remote Imaging Systems Inc, (818) 709-1244

 Diversified Blood Irradiation Line Offers Customers More Choice
As an addition to its current line of radioisotope-based products, MDS Nordion has licensed x-ray blood irradiation technology from Rad Source Technologies Inc. The addition provides a new market niche for MDS Nordion’s blood irradiation products, which are specifically focused toward smaller hospitals with fewer than 400 beds. MDS Nordion has received 510(k) clearance for the medical device from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

With the addition of the new x-ray blood irradiators, MDS Nordion offers a range of products that deliver options in cost and features to a market in which customer requirements are highly diversified.

According to sources from MDS, using irradiated blood in transfusions is recognized as the most effective way of preventing transfer associated graft-versus-host disease (TA-GVHD). The disease occurs when T-lymphocytes from the donor’s blood divide at a rapid rate, targeting the cells of the recipient, whose immune system is unable to reject them. Patients with severely weakened immune systems, such as bone-marrow transplant patients, newborn infants, and leukemia patients require irradiated blood when given a transfusion. Approximately 10% to 15% of all blood in North America is irradiated for this purpose.

Contact: MDS Nordion, (613) 592-2790

 Nalge Receives ISAM Award
The annual ISAM (Italian Society for Applied Microbiology) award for the best 2003 laboratory advertisement was presented to the Nalge Co for its one-page Nalgene catalog promotion. The promotion received global recognition in laboratory magazines throughout 2003.

The ISAM committee said, “The [ad is an] effective, pleasant, and realistic presentation of a catalogue that covers all the needs in any modern analytical laboratory. The coupling with a typical phase of the game of soccer is very effective and direct.”

Nalge Co products are distributed in Italy by International pbi.

Contact: International pbi, 39 02 4877 9245

 Troemner Receives ISO 9001:2000 Standard Certification
Troemner LLC, a provider of precision weights, calibration services and laboratory equipment is now certified to the new ISO 9001:2000 quality standard.

The 2000 revisions of the ISO 9000 series represent the most thorough overhaul of the ISO quality standards since they were first published in 1987. Changes include improving existing quality-management systems with a view to adding value to the organization and its customers and suppliers through a process of continual improvement.

The company also meets the ISO/IEC 17025 General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories, and has achieved NVLAP accreditation in various calibration disciplines.

Contact: Troemner LLC, (856) 686-4207

Surgical Instrument Agreement Awarded to Integra LifeSciences
Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corp recently announced that JARIT® Surgical Instruments has been selected as a national supplier for HealthTrust Purchasing Group’s (HPG) surgical instrument contract. Effective January 1, the 36-month contract gives Integra the additional surgical instruments to sell to HPG member hospitals that are already Integra customers. The contract provides HPG members with expanded choices for instruments for traditional and minimally invasive surgery.

“We are pleased that HPG has chosen JARIT to be one of its surgical instrument vendors,” says Rob Rogowski, president of JARIT. “This award represents a great opportunity for JARIT to offer a broad range of general and specialty surgical instruments and services to a new customer base.”

Contact: Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corp, (800) 645-2873

Third Wave to Supply Mayo Medical Laboratories with Cardiovascular Tests
Third Wave Technologies Inc recently announced that Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML), the international reference laboratory of the Mayo Clinic, has selected the company’s Invader® technology as its genetic-testing platform for key blood-clotting and cardiovascular disease risk factors. MML, the world’s largest hospital-based reference laboratory, provides lab testing and interpretation services for the Mayo Clinic and health care organizations throughout the US and around the world.

MML will use Third Wave’s Invader technology to test for the Factor V Leiden and Factor II mutations and a MTHFR mutation. These mutations have been associated with increased risk of deep-vein blood clotting, or thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism.

Contact: Third Wave Technologies Inc, (888) 898-2357

 Global Med Technologies and Keane Announce Alliance

Wyndgate Technologies, a division of Global Med Technologies Inc, recently announced a strategic marketing agreement with the health care solutions division of Keane Inc to provide Wyndgate’s SafeTrace Tx® advanced transfusion management system as part of Keane’s laboratory-information system.

“Wyndgate’s SafeTrace Tx system complements Keane’s own system by providing clients with the tools to manage and track blood bank operations,” says Ed Meehan, marketing director of the Keane health care solutions division.

Thomas Marcinek, president and COO of Global Med Technologies says, “Together, our products offer health care organizations a sophisticated and cost-effective solution for both hospital-based and independent labs. The alliance with Keane will further enhance the momentum that our products are gaining in both the blood bank and LIS marketplace.”

Keane Inc aids global 200 companies and government agencies in the planning, building, and managing of application software through its business consulting, application development and integration, and application development and management (ADM) outsourcing services.

Global Med Technologies Inc is an e-health medical information technology company providing information management software products and services to the health care industry. Its Wyndgate Technologies division is a supplier of information management systems to US blood centers and transfusion services.

Contact: Global Med Technologies, (916) 404-8400

Vanguard Health System Activates Misys Laboratory and Misys Pharmacy
Misys Healthcare Systems announced early last month its Laboratory™ and Pharmacy™ solutions are fully operational at West Valley Hospital Medical Center, a Vanguard Health System facility in Goodyear, Ariz. The two clinical solutions are improving clinicians’ access to patient information and the capture of clinical and charge data to produce more accurate and timely bills.

“Misys implemented the two systems successfully and smoothly within five-and-a-half months, meeting the go-live deadline, which coincided with the hospital’s opening,” says Lisa Penner, associate director and applications manager, Vanguard Health System.

Misys Laboratory is a comprehensive, high-speed laboratory information system that manages specimen data from requisition entry to production of the final cumulative report. Misys Pharmacy is a patient-focused, integrated pharmacy information system that provides reporting of medication use throughout the entire continuum of care. Contact: Misys Healthcare Systems, (866) MISYS-US

PracticeXpert Completes Acquisition of National Healthcare Management Services
PracticeXpert has completed the acquisition of National Healthcare Management Services Inc (NHMS). Located in Buckhannon, WV, NHMS provides medical billing, practice management, and transcription services to physician practices and dental offices located in West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Jersey. NHMS serves physicians practicing in orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine, anesthesia, and medical imaging; it also provides billing services for an ambulatory surgical center and a small regional hospital.

The acquisition is expected to increase PracticeXpert’s revenue run rate by as much as 15%, and to allow for presence in the Eastern US.

Contact: PracticeXpert Inc, (818) 655-9945

Leica Microsystems Enters Alliance with Sigma-Aldrich to Distribute Histology and Cytology Stains and Reagents in the US
Leica Microsystems Inc, a microscope and scientific instruments company, has entered into an alliance with Sigma-Aldrich Corp to distribute histology and cytology stains and reagents in the United States for the medical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic sectors.

As a preferred provider of Sigma-Aldrich products, Leica Microsystems will now offer its extensive histology/cytology instrument customer base a complete package of equipment, reagents, and service. Leica’s specimen-preparation products include a full range of products for the histopathology laboratory, including automated slide stainers, coverslippers, tissue processors, microtomes, cryostats, embedders, and cassette/slide-labeling equipment for histology and cytology laboratories.

“This is a unique opportunity for Sigma-Aldrich,” says Scott Glover, vice president of marketing, Sigma-Aldrich. “Over the years, Leica has established a strong instrument position in the marketplace. This reputation, coupled with our commitment to stains and reagents, should prove to be a successful equation for our customers.”

Contact: Leica Microsystems Inc, (847) 405-7026; Sigma-Aldrich, (314) 289-6083

Battelle and Zivena to Share in Lung Cancer Treatment Funding
An $8 million grant from Ohio’s Third Frontier Program has been awarded to a team of doctors and researchers to help in the battle against lung cancer. Battelle and Zivena Inc recently announced their participation on the team, which accepted the grant from Gov Bob Taft late last year.

The award also drew commitment of an additional $13.5 million in commercial investment from the partners, bringing funding to a total of $21.5 million. The researchers will focus on efforts to improve prevention, detection, and treatment of lung cancer.

Battelle is participating through direct investments and contributions of technology. “Our rationale for doing this is simple,” says Richard Rosen, senior vice president for Battelle’s Life Science Division. “Our mission is translating scientific discovery into practical applications that are important to society and our economy. Waging battle on lung cancer through more effective diagnosis and treatment clearly meets those criteria.”

Zivena, an offshoot of Columbus-based BattellePharma, which was a division of Battelle, is developing proprietary drugs for treating lung cancer. Zivena’s lead product, Resmycin™, is in Phase II clinical testing. The product is being used in combination with IV-administered Cisplatin/Docetaxel as a first-line treatment in patients with late-stage, non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In a second Phase II trial, which is planned to start in early 2004, Resmycin will be used as a single agent to treat patients with early-stage NSCLC. The two Phase II clinical trials are being led by the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“This grant will give us the funding to complete both Phase II trials, which will give us the confidence that Resmycin can be effective in treating lung cancer,” says Dennis Cearlock, chief executive officer of Zivena.

Contact: Battelle (614) 424-5544 or Zivena Inc (614) 340-2321

Dade Behring Named One of the Nation’s Most Innovative Users of Information Technology
For the fourth consecutive year, Dade Behring has been named to the Information Week 500 for its innovation in information technology.

The Information Week 500 is an annual report card by the IT industry. It identifies the best technology and business practices of companies that demonstrate patterns of technological, procedural, and organizational innovation. Technology deployment, e-business, customer knowledge, infrastructure, IT budgets, and business and technology strategies were examined to determine the company’s ranking.

“The recognition we’ve earned is a direct result of our alignment with the business, our focus on the customer, and the excellence of the people who are in Dade Behring’s IT organization,” says David Edelstein, chief information officer for Dade Behring.

A complete list of companies on the Information Week 500 can be found at

Contact: Dade Behring (847) 267-5300

PNRI Announces Asbestos Cancer Breakthrough
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI) have reported the development of a blood test for mesothelioma, a highly aggressive lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

The new test promises a simple technique for diagnosing and monitoring mesothelioma early in its progress, when therapy is more likely to be successful. Fujirebio Diagnostics Inc (FDI), an oncology diagnostics company, has acquired an exclusive license from PNRI to develop a commercial test for worldwide distribution. Team members from both PNRI and the University of Western Australia conducted the research.

According to PNRI team leader Ingegred Hellström, mesothelioma cells release distinctive molecular markers, SMR (soluble mesothelin-related proteins), into the blood stream. Hellström and her colleagues have identified this group of markers and have developed a test to detect them with great specificity.

In blood samples gathered from 273 individuals, researchers found that 84% of those with mesothelioma exhibited high levels of SMR. Only 1.9% of those with other forms of cancer or lung disease had any increased SMR, and patients who were healthy and had not been exposed to asbestos showed no biomarker increase.

“This is a very important breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma,” Hellström explains. “Currently, no blood test exists to detect this cancer and the new biomarker will help doctors see the disease that so far has required much more complicated and expensive tests, and often has gone undetected.”

Dr Bruce Robinson, leader of the Australian team at the University of Western Australia states that the new research information from blood samples shows that SMR can be elevated in serum up to several years before actual diagnosis of mesothelioma. “The test may thus prove helpful for screening asbestos-exposed individuals for early evidence of mesothelioma,” says Robinson.

Contact: Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI) (206) 726-1200

Serologicals’ Chemicon International Division Announces Licensing Agreement with Molecular Probes
Serologicals Corp announced late last year that its serologicals research division, Chemicon International Inc, has entered into a licensing agreement with Molecular Probes Inc, a subsidiary of Invitrogen, that grants Chemicon access to a new generation of fluorophores for labeling biologically active molecules.

The newly licensed Alexa Fluor and tandem conjugate technologies will significantly extend Chemicon’s selection of life science products for the fluorescent detection of protein targets. This agreement reflects Serologicals’ continued strategy to provide high-value research products and technologies to global functional genomics, infectious disease diagnostics, and proteomics markets.

The agreement states that Chemicon has acquired nonexclusive worldwide rights to distribute immunological reagents labeled with Molecular Probes’ Alexa Fluor dyes. Fluorescent conjugate prepared using these dyes are highly accurate and sensitive reagents for detecting biomolecules in the whole range of absorption/emission spectra offered by modern fluorescent microscopy, flow cytometry, and other spectroscopy instrumentation. These bright, soluble and highly photostable fluorophores are suitable for immunostaining of living cells and fixed tissues, as well as for multicolor flow cytometric applications.

Another key provision of the agreement grants Chemicon access to Molecular Probes’ tandem bioconjugate technology. Chemicon’s Alexa Fluor tandem conjugate will provide a simple, cost- and time-efficient solution for laboratories equipped with fluorescence instrumentation with only one source of excitation.

“The new Molecular Probes license represents our commitment to introducing reagents and assays that have a high value per product,” says Jeffrey Linton, president of Chemicon International. “We will continue to leverage Chemicon’s core competencies through an emphasis on licensing and in-house development channels in the traditional areas of the company’s strength, such as imaging of biologically active biomolecules and high throughput proteomics testing. Alexa Fluor and tandem conjugate technologies will propel Chemicon in that direction by providing a new generation of improved fluorescence products to the research community.”

Contact: Serologicals Corp (678) 728-2000