Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pa) chose the September meeting of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) in Indianapolis to launch its new reclining dedicated cardiac gamma camera system, the

This new system, designed for hospital and cardiology offices, brings an 8-foot-by-8-foot footprint and improved patient comfort and imaging accuracy, according to Siemens. The’s myocardial viability and perfusion capabilities offer cardiologists increased diagnostic confidence, and the system’s fully integrated software allows analysis of ejection fraction and wall motion.

Unique to the system is a reclining chair that will provide increased patient comfort, thereby delivering improved image quality. Patients can sit back comfortably in the chair throughout the imaging procedure, with decreased fidgeting or movement. The reclining chair—which patients have compared to a home recliner—also provides easier access for patients with mobility challenges and increased comfort for those with arthritis or other painful conditions.

GE MEDICAL SYSTEMS acquisition of Instrumentarium approved
The European Commission in September gave GE Medical Systems (Waukesha, Wis) the go-ahead to acquire acquisition of Finnish equipment manufacturer Instrumentarium. The commission had been concerned that the companies would hold too high a share of the patient monitoring market as a result of the merge. So in order to receive regulatory approval in the European Union, GE undertook the sale of Instrumentarium’s Spacelabs business and entered into a series of supply agreements with its acquirer as well as to ensure that its anesthesia equipment, patient monitors, and clinical information systems will interoperate with third-parties’ devices.

The commission also analyzed the impact of the merger in the x-ray machine markets for mobile C-arms and mammography devices. However, the in-depth investigation did not reveal any serious competition concerns in particular in view of the significant position of competitors and other specific features of these markets.

In addition, the commission cooperated closely with the US Depart-ment of Justice in the review of the GE/Instrumentarium case.

R2, iCAD settle patent suits
R2 Technology Inc and iCAD Inc (Nasdaq: ICAD) have settled their patent infringement lawsuits, according to a joint announcement by the companies. As part of the settlement, R2 has agreed to dismiss with prejudice litigation filed against Intelligent Systems Software, ISSI Acquisition, and iCAD, in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. And in turn, iCAD will dismiss with prejudice its and Scanis’s suit against R2 Technology filed in the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

Under the terms of the settlement, iCAD is granted a nonexclusive license to the patents named in the suit filed by R2. In connection with settlement of the suit, iCAD agreed to pay R2 an aggregate of $1.25 million, with $250,000 deferred and payable on a quarterly basis through December 2005. iCAD also will issue to R2 shares of iCAD Common Stock valued at $750,000. iCAD also agreed to certain continuing royalties, which are based on the category and configuration of products sold by iCAD.

In addition, iCAD has granted R2 a partial credit against future purchase of iCAD digitizers worth up to $2.5 million over 5 years to encourage R2 to purchase film digitizers manufactured by iCAD.

Fujitsu introduces MO drive with DICOM software
Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc (San Jose, Calif) has introduced a slim and light USB-powered magneto-optical (MO) drive bundled with DICOM image viewing software.

The DynaMO Pocket with DICOM Viewer allows ultrasound and health care professionals to easily transport DICOM images and data on 3.5-inch MO disks (MODs) from medical imaging equipment to notebook PCs and workstations for convenient offline review. The DynaMO Pocket marks the first turnkey solution for offline image review from a desk or away from the office.

Vital Images Inc (Minneapolis) will soon be launching newly integrated technology thanks to an agreement with Mirada Solutions Ltd (Oxford, England) that integrates Mirada’s PET and image fusion software into Vital Images’ Vitrea software.

 Vital Images plans to demonstrate the integrated technology at the RSNA meeting to be held late next month followed by a commercial launch in 2004.

Mirada’s technology can fuse images from the same or different imaging modalities, such as MRI, PET, or CT from datasets acquired at different times or from datasets generated on equipment from different manufacturers.

“The integration of fusion software with our software means that Vitrea users will be able to combine datasets created in different modalities to create an image with richer diagnostic information,” says Jay D. Miller, Vital Images’ president and chief executive officer. “We especially see a growing demand for technology that fuses CT and PET imaging data to more accurately diagnose cancers or cancerous tumors and other diseases.”

PET/CT combines the biological examination of an anatomical site by PET with the CT images of the body’s structural details. Software-based fusion technology, such as that provided by Mirada, integrates images created separately by PET and CT scanners.

“Vital Images is our partner-of-choice in 3D visualization,” says Chris Behrenbruch, PhD, Mirada Solutions’ chief executive officer.

The recent acquisition of Mirada by CTI Molecular Imaging, a PET technology company, means that the Vital Images relationship represents an even greater distribution opportunity for PET and molecular imaging technology.

Kodak unveils new mammography system
Eastman Kodak Co’s Health Imaging Group has announced a new mammography screen-film system that significantly improves on a previous screen-film system offered by the company.

 The new Kodak Min-R EV Screen-Film system provides enhanced visualization (EV) of subtle abnormalities in breast tissue and offers improved image quality compared with the Kodak Min-R 2000 Screen-Film system.

The Min-R EV film contains a new asymmetric emulsion that provides both high contrast and wide exposure latitude, resulting in optimal exposure of glandular tissue without contrast loss in fatty areas and the breast periphery. This capability produces improved imaging of all areas of the breast in a single exposure. In fact, the film’s uniquely designed emulsion grains enable increased visibility of breast anatomy and maintain contrast even as optical density increases. Improvements in Kodak Min-R EV intensifying screens deliver increased sharpness.

The system, which will be available worldwide by the end of this year, was trade tested at selected US breast imaging clinics. These sites included St John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit and the Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic in Rochester, NY.

“Kodak Min-R EV screen-film system provides exceptional contrast and detail, which enables me to detect tiny abnormalities and fine speculations, even in dense breast tissue. It also provides enhanced diagnostic confidence because I am seeing clinically significant anatomy in all areas of the breast,” says Christine Watt, MD, chairman of St John’s department of imaging services.

Wende Logan-Young, MD, founder of The Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic, also tested the new screen-film system. “With the Min-R EV screen-film system, I detected irregularly outlined tissue and calcifications more easily and saw greater detail in high-density areas,” Logan-Young says. “In addition, dose was reduced, eliminating many retakes due to patient motion.

DVI Inc (Jamison, Pa) has arranged for $20 million in debtor-in-possession financing, the company announced in September, just weeks after filing for relief under Chapter 11 reorganization along with two of its US subsidiaries, DVI Financial Services and DVI Business Credit. The financing is being provided by Abelco Finance.

 DVI also said that it had received permission to continue to use cash collateral for 4 weeks and that the bankruptcy court had approved a forbearance agreement allowing the company to continue to service certain loans. DVI has also filed motions that cover the bid procedures to be implemented in the sale of DVI’s assets.

DVI elected to file for Chapter 11 as a result of significant financial difficulties stemming from an unsuccessful diversification strategy, unsuccessful integration of business units, decreased profitability, concerns regarding near-term liquidity requirements, and the recent discovery of possible accounting irregularities. The company also announced that a special committee of independent directors has been formed to investigate the possible accounting irregularities.

DVI says that the objective of the Chapter 11 proceeding is to maximize recovery to creditors by facilitating an orderly sale of assets. The company is currently in discussions with several parties regarding a potential sale.

In conjunction with the filing, CEO Michael O’Hanlon resigned and Mark E. Toney, a principal at AlixPartners, was named CEO.

“Our immediate goal is to stabilize the company’s financial situation and utilize the Chapter 11 process to enable us to operate the business as we work to sell the company’s assets,” says Toney. “We strongly believe that DVI’s considerable asset portfolio will be attractive to the market, and we have already had initial discussions with a number of parties that have expressed interest in the Company.”

A newly released University of Southern California (USC) study shows that black men and non-Latino white women have the highest cancer rates in Los Angeles, with stomach cancer on the rise among Koreans and Chinese.

 Researchers at USC collected information from the Los Angeles cancer surveillance program, looking at more than 700,000 cancer cases between 1976 and 2000.

Among non-Latino white and black women, breast cancer rates have nearly doubled as women have fewer children and at an older age, the researchers said.

Cancers of the colon and rectum are the third most commonly diagnosed cancers among men and women in Los Angeles, although rates have declined recently among whites, blacks, and the Latino white population but are still on the rise among Japanese, Filipinos, and Koreans.

Among the more surprising findings, melanoma has increased so rapidly in Los Angeles County in the past 2 decades that it is one of the area’s top five most common cancers, with researchers at a loss to explain a possible reason for that increase.

Fourteen cancer sites were studied, including breast, prostate, lungs, and liver. The good news? Many of the cancers were affected by lifestyle, such as smoking, meaning the rates can come down.

Cedara Software Corp (Toronto) has unveiled a new medical image viewer for health care professionals wanting PACS functionality over the Internet.

 Cedara I-Reach v3.0 enables hospitals and clinics to acquire, distribute, and archive medical images and diagnostic reports across the Internet. Using this software, specialists can plan treatment whether working within the hospital or from a remote location. Additionally, referring physicians have instant access to patients’ images via I-Reach’s Web viewing application, which employs the DICOM digital format standard that enables medical imaging devices to exchange images and patient information. The addition of role-based access privileges ensures that physicians obtain access to authorized images only, preventing unwanted access to patient information.

“Cedara’s new Web viewer advances the current capabilities of our PAC system,” says Michael Plitnikas, PACS engineer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, Fla. “We can now distribute patient information and digital images over the Internet in a way that is clinically relevant. Technologists can send images to the emergency department, hospital inpatient units, and to physician offices via the Internet while doctors working remotely can pull the images needed to expedite the care and treatment of patients.”

I-Reach also allows physicians to link comparison studies, display images in tile or stack mode, and display localizers.

The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) has announced new guidance to assemblers and manufacturers of diagnostic x-ray systems regarding the disclosure of specifications for assembly, installation, adjustment, and testing (AIAT).

 The guidance clarifies the scope and terms of the information disclosure provision, in addition to explaining how affected parties should view cost and software issues. The revision provides further clarification that manufacturers should provide, upon request, AIAT information for each certified component used for the controlled production of x-rays.

According to CDRH, diagnostic x-ray system manufacturers are subject to information disclosure obligations so that assemblers or other interested parties may obtain, upon request, information regarding the AIAT of an x-ray system to ensure it meets federal performance standards. The AIAT information should be provided at a cost not to exceed the cost of publication and distribution. The information helps to ensure compliance with performance standards that are intended to reduce unnecessary x-ray exposure to the patient and operator.

The manufacturer can certify that the components or system manufactured meet the applicable federal performance standard only when they are assembled, installed, adjusted, and tested according to instructions. The assembler certifies that the system and its components were assembled, installed, adjusted, and tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Reliable certification, then, depends upon the manufacturer’s providing adequate and complete instructions to the assembler.

Swissray International (Elizabeth, NJ) has taken the next step in its building phase by choosing not to renew its 2-year-old distribution agreement with SourceOne Healthcare Technologies. SourceOne predecessor Marconi Health Care Products originally signed on to boost sales of Swissray’s ddR product line in June 2001.

“Swissray is now self-sufficient in the US market, possessing the critical mass necessary to provide all services directly to our customers without intervening levels of business partners,” says Terry Ross, Swissray CEO.

Swissray’s building phase began with a major equity investment and new management team in November 2002. Over the past 9 months, Swissray has undergone extensive reorganization and strategic repositioning, including the launch of direct sales, applications, and service teams in the United States.

In related news, the company announced the promotion of Leo Ferrini to vice president of sales, Western region, and Steve Adelman to director of sales, Eastern region. Ferrini, with more than 25 years of experience in medical imaging equipment sales and senior management, joined Swissray in May 2003. Adelman, who joined Swissray in November 2002, has 20 years of sales experience with GE Medical Systems.

FDA OKs 2 CADx systems
The FDA has formally approved two new products from CADx Systems Inc (Beavercreek, Ohio).

The products, the Second Look Digital and Second Look AD CAD systems, will allow integration with the GE Senographe 2000D full-field digital mammography system.

The Second Look AD has combined analog and digital capabilities to provide more flexibility to operate both traditional film-based mammography and newer digital mammography imaging. The Second Look AD and Second Look Digital CAD also allow multiple GE Senographe 2000D digital mammography units to process images for CAD while displaying the mammograms and CAD results on multiple radiologists’ workstations.

“Customers are demanding the combined approach of the Second Look AD," says Steve Rogers, CEO of CADx Systems. “The power of the analog capabilities with access to digital CAD processing eases the transition for everyone as mammography moves from film to digital. The recent agreement with GE Medical Systems greatly expands our distribution capabilities and further confirms the value of our technology.”

The GE Senographe 2000D produces digital x-ray images without film and is designed to generate digital mammographic images that can be used for the screening and diagnosis of breast cancer.

Viatronix gets FDA clearance fornew x-ray workstation
Viatronix Inc (Stony Brook, NY) has received FDA clearance for the use of the V3D Explorer for x-ray modality data, its general-purpose 2D/3D medical imaging workstation.

“Receiving FDA clearance to market the V3D Explorer for x-ray is a major milestone in our current strategy of establishing this product as a highly competitive and versatile general-purpose medical imaging workstation,” says David Barnitt, CEO of Viatronix Inc. “The V3D Explorer is a single solution that empowers the radiologist to efficiently evaluate not only CT, MR, PET, and SPECT images but also images from the new wave of digital x-ray systems and all forms of digital radiography.”

The V3D Explorer workstation can process both large and small radiology studies, according to the company. A multipurpose 2D and 3D viewing and postprocessing workstation, the V3D Explorer accepts DICOM-compliant images from several modalities, permitting radiologists to visualize patient’s studies in any 2D or 3D projection for better understanding of anatomical relationships and pathological conditions.

RealTimeImage, MDexchange ink licensing agreement for web PACS
RealTimeImage (San Bruno, Calif) has signed a licensing agreement with MDexchange that will incorporate RealTime’s technology into MDexchange’s software.

Under the terms of the agreement, MDexchange, a developer and marketer of Web-based clinical reporting systems, will embed RealTime’s advanced iPACS DICOM viewer and Web-based image streaming technology into its software solution, which provides clinicians with access to patient information while protecting patient confidentiality and the proprietary clinical data of hospitals, labs, and imaging centers.

RealTimeImage’s iPACS product line provides an open, Web-based, scalable imaging workflow solution. Based on the company’s patented Pixels-On-Demand architecture, iPACS products provide the fastest image distribution and workflow solution available today according to the company. iPACS links any DICOM modality or archive to any PC or DICOM workstations, with no image compression or degradation in quality. In addition, images require no time-consuming preprocessing or intermediate storage.

Philips launches AcQSim3 CT simulation workstation
Royal Philips Electronics has launched the AcQSim3, its new CT simulation workstation.

AcQSim3 combines the CT simulation features of the AcQSim workstation with Philips’ radiation therapy planning (RTP) system, Pinnacle3, creating a single shared platform and offering users an efficient integrated workflow solution.

AcQSim3’s integration with Pinnacle3 enables patient data to be shared within a common database, giving immediate data access to all Philips’ oncology workstations on a hospital or health system network. It also allows users to access Philips’ automatic image fusion application, Syntegra, and advanced intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) application, P3IMRT.

CTI and De Lage Landen form financing program for PET, PET/CT
PET equipment provider CTI Molecular Imaging Inc (Knoxville, Tenn) and De Lage Landen Financial Services Inc (Wayne, Pa) have signed a letter of intent to form a new financing program for CTI customers.

 The program, called CTI Capital, will provide flexible lease financing for the full range of PET and PET/CT scanners and other products and services sold directly by CTI. CTI and De Lage Landen are already working jointly with CTI customers in anticipation of signing a formal program agreement within the next 30 days.

“CTI Capital will expand the current financing alternatives we offer and strengthen our overall position in the marketplace, allowing us to provide a comprehensive package of products and services to our customers,” says David N. Gill, CFO of CTI.

“With more than 30 years of experience in the leasing industry, we believe De Lage Landen has the expertise to provide CTI customers with comprehensive financial solutions, plus best-in-class service,” Gill adds. He also says that De Lage Landen has extensive experience in the diagnostic imaging equipment market and has formed similar financing programs with other health care equipment manufacturers.

De Lage Landen is the North American subsidiary of De Lage Landen International BV of the Netherlands, and a global provider asset-based financing products.

NTP announces agreement to supply isotopes to MDS Nordion
Over the next few months, NTP Radioisotopes Ltd, a subsidiary of the South African Nuclear Energy Corp, will begin supplying MDS Nordion (Ottawa) with yttrium-90 (Y-90), a medical isotope used in radioimmunotherapies to treat cancer, the company recently announced.

NTP has also been licensed to use MDS Nordion’s Y-90 production technology to produce and market Y-90 under its own brand in countries outside of Europe and North America.

This new partnership will create an additional source of supply to MDS Nordion of Y-90 radiochemical for processing into Y-90 radiopharmaceutical used to manufacture cancer drugs such as IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp’s Zevalin. Zevalin is the world’s first approved radioimmunotherapy and is used to treat a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. MDS Nordion’s Y-90 generators in Fleurus, Belgium, reportedly constitute the largest Y-90 production capacity in the world. “With promising new radioimmunotherapies such as Zevalin already approved by the US FDA and other Y-90-based treatments moving through clinical trials, Y-90 is emerging as an important radionuclide in the treatment of cancer,” says Claudette David, vice president, therapeutic products, nuclear medicine, MDS Nordion. “We welcome this new partnership with NTP Radioisotopes as a concrete example of our continued commitment to supporting the development and adoption of these exciting new therapies by ensuring secure and reliable supply networks.”

MDS Nordion also manufactures a finished iodine-131 radioimmunotherapy product, Bexxar, for Corixa Corp. Zevalin and Bexxar are the only radioimmunotherapy products currently approved by the FDA.

Caelum gains CAD grants
Caelum Research Corp (Rockville, Md) will soon be embarking on two major research initiatives into lung and thoracic computer aided diagnosis (CAD), thanks to a pair of grants to the organization from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, under the National Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The first award is a Phase II grant that provides continued support of Caelum’s research on “Computer-Aided Diagnosis to Enhance Thoracic CT Image.” The second is a Phase I grant for “Detection of Lung Cancer via Registered Temporal Images.”

These two grants are Caelum’s 10th and 11th under the SBIR program since the company’s founding in 1987.

Caelum’s application of pattern recognition techniques to lung cancer early detection resulted in the creation of the RapidScreen RS-2000, the first CAD system for the early detection of lung cancer to be granted premarket approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The unit is marketed by Deus Technologies.

Elekta to license Axeda Systems remote diagnostics for linacs
Elekta AB (Norcross, Ga) will utilize the Axeda DRM system by Axeda Systems Inc (Mansfield, Mass) under a recently announced licensing agreement between the two companies.

The agreement was designed to further improve Elekta’s service and remote diagnostics capabilities for their digital linear accelerators. “As the world’s fastest-growing supplier of radiation oncology and radiosurgery solutions, we are constantly challenged to maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction while maximizing the productivity of our service organization,” says Tomas Pusepp, executive vice president of Elekta global sales, marketing, and service. “By embracing the Axeda DRM system, we expect to become a more proactive service organization, ensuring better availability of our equipment for health care professionals and ultimately the patient. This will be achieved by improving our support levels and streamlining response times through the real-time automation and remote monitoring and diagnosis of vital system components.”

Elekta has purchased the following modules of the Axeda DRM system: Axeda Service, Axeda Enterprise, Axeda Access, Axeda Usage, and Axeda Software Management.

The Axeda DRM system is a distributed enterprise software solution that allows instrument manufacturers to leverage the Internet to establish continuous connections to instruments deployed remotely at hospitals and treatment centers.

Canon announces Japanese DR plant
Canon USA Inc (Lake Success, NY) has been ramping up the production of digital radiography (DR) systems from a Japanese production facility since the beginning of 2003, the company recently announced.

Canon established the new multimillion- dollar medical device assembly facility at the end of 2002, dedicating it to supporting the growing US market demand for DR systems. The Kamisato office facility, located in Saitama Prefecture northwest of Tokyo, will reportedly increase production capacity and reduce production costs for Canon medical products.

“A state-of-the-art facility that provides us with the ability to mass produce digital radiography sensors is the key to maintaining our leadership position in the DR market,” says Neo Imai, director and assistant general manager, medical systems division, Canon USA Inc.

At the facility, Canon has the ability to produce all components for each sensor, controlling all production with the Canon-developed process for creating amorphous sensor technology. The company says it has the capacity to manufacture more than 1,000 DR systems each year from the Japan location.

Medrad touts new assembly line
A recently installed automated assembly line has increased production of Medrad’s sterile disposables by more than 60%, the company says.

Medrad (Indianola, Pa) installed the custom-designed assembly line at its headquarters facility near Pittsburgh, making it the fourth installation in a phased initiative designed to meet the global demand for the company’s disposable products through 2006.

The automation converts syringe assembly and packaging into a process that doubles the syringes produced per person and maximizes consistency of the end product. No full-time permanent jobs are impacted, as the automation parallels the growth of Medrad’s sterile disposables revenues.

Medrad currently holds more than 25 syringe-related US patents and is the pioneer of pressure-jacketless syringes for high-pressure contrast fluid injections for CT imaging. The company produces 15 different types of syringes, each specially designed for use with its vascular injection systems, which inject contrast fluids into the body during CT, MR, and angiography procedures. Syringes and disposable tubing are packaged in 47 different configurations to meet the unique needs of customers around the world according to the company.

The company’s new equipment first places a rubber cover over the plunger, sprays the barrel with silicone, inserts the plunger into the barrel, and then adds a dust cap to the tip of the syringe. The syringe is then manually inspected, placed in a newly formed package with automatically wound disposable tubing, sealed, and inspected again before moving to the sterilization process. The line produces a syringe every 1.13 seconds. The company’s syringe technology creates more than 15 million medical images around the world every year.

San Antonio hospitals to get Kodak CR units
Methodist Healthcare System (San Antonio) has placed a multimillion-dollar order for digital CR systems from Eastman Kodak Co (Rochester, NY) in one of the largest single CR purchases yet from Kodak’s Health Imaging Group.

Under the terms of purchase, 25 Kodak DirectView CR 850 and CR 950 systems and five Kodak DirectView CR Long-Length Imaging systems will be placed in five hospitals and several hospital-affiliated imaging centers in the San Antonio area.

The order from Methodist Healthcare includes Kodak’s DirectView EVP software, which is available with Kodak CR systems, to enhance image quality by presenting both high-contrast and wide-latitude data on the same image. Kodak DirectView Total Quality Tool software was also included in the purchase. This software enables users to perform objective image tests and quality control measurements with the same interface used for examinations. Tests are conducted at the customer’s convenience without the cost, scheduling, or disruption of third-party testing. Additionally, testing can be suspended instantly when patients need to be imaged.

Kodak’s CR long-length imaging system provides hospitals and diagnostic imaging centers with digital image capture of full-leg and full-spine images. Kodak’s fully automatic stitching software delivers images of up to 17 x 51 inches (43 x 129 cm) that can be viewed in softcopy or printed onto radiographic film with Kodak DryView Laser Imaging Systems.

 Siemens delivers new ultrasound system
Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pa) has put the finishing touches on its new Acuson CV70 ultrasound system, developed especially for hospitals providing cardiology and angiology care.

The Acuson CV70 contains an integrated Dimaq ultrasound workstation for digital acquisition, storage, and display of complete ultrasound studies. It also contains a multihertz function that ensures improved penetration depth as well as tissue harmonic imaging that reportedly provides high diagnostic certainty in patients who are difficult to scan.

The system was also designed to improve workflow and reduce costs. The product’s support for the DICOM 3.0 formats allows fast digital data transfer and easy integration into existing PACS systems according to the company. And images may also be stored in a digital patient folder or on a cost-effective CD-ROM in DICOM standard.

Consorta renews contract with FujiFilm
Consorta Inc (Chicago) has renewed its 3-year purchasing contract with FujiFilm Medical Systems.

The contract, which includes all CR readers, imaging plates, cassettes, and accessories, is effective through June 30, 2006, and valued at approximately $15 million. Fuji’s complete line of digital x-ray equipment is named in the contract, including the entire FCR 5000 Series of CR readers, the compact SmartCR, and the ClearView-CS, which can be upgraded for mammography applications.

The contract renewal is in addition to a film and dry imager contract also in existence between the companies.

Toshiba demonstrates ultrasound system advancements
Toshiba America Medical Systems (Tustin, Calif) recently demonstrated new advancements on its Aplio ultrasound system at the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators (AHRA) meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

The Aplio is a high-resolution, multimodality ultrasound system featuring Toshiba’s advanced dynamic flow (ADF) Doppler technology, dynamic microslice technology, and ApliPure real-time compounding imaging. The ADF technology provides superior visualization of micro-vessels within tumors and organs, involving a two-step process in which the Doppler digital image optimizer detects low-velocity blood flow. The microslice technology electronically focuses the elevation plane of the ultrasound beam, unlike conventional technologies, which are limited to a fixed-beam elevation. This provides a more focused ultrasound beam for thinner slices with greater anatomical detail, suited for high-resolution musculoskeletal and detailed breast imaging.

Toshiba launches new 1.5T MRI system
Toshiba America Medical Systems’ (Tustin, Calif) new EXCELART Vantage 1.5 tesla high-field MRI system has the industry’s shortest magnet, the company says.

The EXCELART Vantage, a 1.5-tesla (1.5T) high-field MRI system, offers exceedingly linear 30 mT/m gradients with a slew rate of 50 T/m/s (tesla per meter per second) or 130 T/m/s. Despite the short length of the magnet, the system delivers the highest homogeneity of any magnet in the industry over a full 50-cm diameter spherical volume (DSV) (50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm), according to Toshiba. In addition, it is equipped with a new faster CPU platform, aiming to increase patient throughput as well as future upgradability. The system also offers SuperFASE, very short echo spacing, half-Fourier RF refocused sequence for very high-speed 2D and 3D T2 weighted imaging, a technique that has also been adapted for imaging vascular structures in the abdomen and chest. With this technique, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) images of venous and arterial vessels can be simultaneously visualized without the use of contrast agents.

In addition to these techniques, the system is available with optional packages for advanced EPI functional, perfusion, diffusion, peripheral MRA, cardiac imaging, and SuperFASE imaging for even higher-resolution high-speed 2D and 3D imaging or non-contrast perfusion and MRA studies.

Minnesota hospital will be showcase for Siemens
Abbott Northwestern Hospital (Minneapolis) will collaborate with Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pa) on new research, thanks to a recently signed 10-year strategic alliance. The alliance includes cooperative cardiac research and development activities in Abbott Northwestern’s 128-bed heart hospital, which is currently slated to open in February 2005.

With this alliance, Abbott Northwestern’s heart hospital will serve as a research center for state-of-the-art imaging, diagnostic, and medical information equipment. It will focus on cardiovascular research by individual modalities, such as angiography catheterization labs and CT, as well as cross-modality clinical research to gain a better understanding of cardiovascular disease and its prevention and treatment.

“We are pleased to announce this alliance with Siemens and to serve as the site for them to showcase products and services, and demonstrate how a smart hospital can run,” says Denny DeNarvaez, president of Abbott Northwestern.

Siemens will provide additional funding for the research efforts, and Abbott Northwestern will utilize Siemens high-end cardiovascular imaging technologies. In addition, Siemens Building Technologies will assist in the layout and design of the new facility to ensure optimum patient care and comfort. When completed in early 2005, the new heart hospital will centralize the hospital’s 128 cardiac beds and allow space for future growth.

FDA clears Siemens linear accelerator
The FDA has given 510(k) clearance to a new linear accelerator from Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pa).

 The product, the ONCOR Avant-Garde Linear Accelerator, is designed to deliver advanced, high-quality radiation therapy treatments in a streamlined workflow environment.

“Through its workflow-enabling features, the introduction of ONCOR represents a milestone in radiation oncology, as well as for Siemens in debuting a new oncology workflow solutions offering,” says Ajit Singh, PhD, president of Siemens Oncology Care Systems. “By integrating ONCOR and the syngo-based COHERENCE Therapist workspace, Siemens provides the enabler for optimal workflow, empowering clinicians to set a new standard in the delivery of oncology care by increasing treatment efficiency and quality.”

ONCOR features OPTIFOCUS MLC, a new, full-field, high-resolution multileaf collimator that is based upon a unique, double-focused, fully divergent, low-leakage design. ONCOR’s high-resolution portal images, acquired via the OPTIVUE amorphous silicon flat-panel imaging system, provide patient positioning information and documentation. The system also incorporates Siemens’ patented OPTIBEAM IMRT, an optimized technique for intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) delivery that uses best-in-class verification to safely provide treatments with speed and accuracy.

InSiteOne joins forces with MedAssets
InSiteOne (Wallingford, Conn), a provider of integrated on-site and off-site storage and archiving services for digital medical images, has entered into a 3-year agreement with MedAssets HSCA (St Louis), a group purchasing organization.

With this agreement, InSiteOne will provide its patented InDex OnLine, Nearline, Recovery, and Web programs to MedAssets HSCA members throughout the country, enabling them to enter the filmless imaging market through a low-cost, pay-as-you-go, storage-services-provider business model. The agreement will also facilitate environments that have previously moved to a filmless platform to help meet and exceed HIPAA–prescribed disaster recovery solutions for existing and future medical images.

“InSiteOne has established itself as the principal vendor for digital medical imaging archiving services,” says Jerry Allen, director of radiology at MedAssets HSCA. “Insite-One’s storage and recovery business model and breadth of services will integrate well with our hospital membership and with the large group of imaging centers we service. The service InSiteOne provides will complement and enhance other radiology services and products we administer.”