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Roche Diagnostics, Affibody, Quest Diagnostics, Thermo Electron


Roche Diagnostics has begun installing its West Nile virus blood-screening PCR systems at North American blood centers, in preparation for clinical trials scheduled to begin on or before July 1, the company said this week.

The test, which uses Roche’s PCR technology to amplify the genetic material of West Nile virus, is designed to help blood banks “ensure the safety” of blood and blood products used in transfusions and other procedures.

In the United States, Roche systems were installed at two America’s Blood Centers testing sites: the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, in Houston, and the Central Florida Blood Bank in Orlando; and also at the South Bend Medical Foundation testing site in Indiana.

In Canada, systems were installed at Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec testing sites. Roche said it will continue installing the systems at other testing sites in the United States and Canada through May and June.

Affibody, of Stockholm, Sweden, and London-based InforSense have co-released the KDE GeneSense platform, which they say will allow researchers to interpret experimental genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics data.

According to the companies, GeneSense combines InforSense’s Kensington Discovery Edition discovery-informatics environment with Affibody’s data management, ontology, and visual-representation technology.

GeneSense offers “curated access” to databases; links to KDE’s workflow system and analytical tools; interpretation using different ontologies; so-called “virtual chip” and “tree map visualizers” that display the ontologies; and an ontology-authoring tool that helps researchers build their own ontologies.

Quest Diagnostics and Thermo Electron plan to launch an automated, biochip-based prenatal diagnostic test for cystic fibrosis mutations, the companies said last week.

The new biochip array, called the CF Portrait, can be used for multiplex testing. It is currently used on a limited basis at Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., for cystic fibrosis-carrier screening. Researchers there are expected to use the CF Portrait for all such screenings by July 1.

The CF Portrait biochip is designed and manufactured by Thermo Electron's Thermo BioStar unit, part of the company's Clinical Diagnostics division, and uses its Optical ImmunoAssay technology.

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