CBL Path, Plus Diagnostics, Alpha Innotech, DNA Direct, Humana

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NEW PATHOLOGY LABS OPEN ON EAST COAST

TIMES MUST BE GOOD for anatomic pathology companies—at least two companies have each announced the opening of a new laboratory facility.

On the East Coast, it was CBL Path, Inc., of Rye Brook, New York, which expanded. On May 29, it announced the opening of its new laboratory in Manhattan, located on East 66th Street. Because this is pricey real estate, it is likely that CBL Path’s strategy is to offer faster turn-around times for its client physicians in Manhattan.

On the West Coast, it was Plus Diagnostics, Inc., which opened a new laboratory facility in Laguna Hills, California, a city in Orange County. The new laboratory was opened in April. Plus Diagnostics is also building a new laboratory in Union, New Jersey. It plans to take occupancy in August 2009. Plus Diagnostics was formerly known as Lakewood Pathology Associates. It changed its name in 2008.

For both CBL Path and Plus Diagnostics to open new laboratories is one sign that demand for anatomic pathology testing—especially in the urology and gastroenterology specialties served by both companies—continues to be strong, despite the current economic recession.

NEW TECHNOLOGY ENABLES WESTERN BLOT BY DIGITAL IMAGING

RESEARCHERS ARE APPLYING NEW TECHNOLOGY to the long-established Western Blot process. They hope to produce a methodology that produces more quantifiable data and more reproducible data.

Currently, chemiluminescence is in common use. It generates a low-light signal and is typically reproduced by film. Uneven stripping of the blot can sometimes cause loss of quantitative information. Use of flu- orescently-labeled secondary antibodies is another recent approach for these assays.

Enter the Western Blot by digital imaging. Two developments support this new approach. First, charge-coupled device (CCD) camera technology has improved in ways that support its use in Western Blot testing. Second, chemiluminescent substrates optimized for digital imaging have recently become available. For example, Alpha Innotech Corporation of San Leandro, California, sells such a product, which it calls ChemiGlow. Initially, the primary market is expected to be pharmaceutical researchers.

Scientists are demonstrating that digital imaging provides a greater linear dynamic range when used for Western Blots. By replacing film, digital imaging generates a number of benefits in conducting the test and evaluating the results.

This new technology and its application in Western Blot testing demonstrates how improvements in different technologies can be combined to create a new diagnostic methodology. It is also a reminder of how quickly digital imaging capabilities are improving.

DNA DIRECT TO ADMINISTER HUMANA’S GENETIC TESTING

ORGANIZED TO SERVE the genetic testing needs of consumers, DNA Direct of San Francisco, California, has added an important new customer. Effective this summer, it will handle preauthorization and notification of molecular diagnostic testing and genetic testing for Humana, Inc. This arrangement plays to DNA Direct’s core competencies in counseling consumers about genetic testing. It also is an example of a new competitor to clinical labs.

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