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Syntermed licenses Emory imaging technology for improved evaluation of heart failure patients

New imaging software that will allow physicians to more accurately diagnose and treat heart failure patients has been licensed by Emory University to Syntermed, an Atlanta-based nuclear medicine imaging and informatics software company. The software uses multiharmonic phase analysis (MHPA), a technology developed by Emory medical scientists Ernest Garcia, PhD, and Jing Chen, PhD.

MHPA is designed to quickly and reliably determine which heart failure patients will benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). CRT is used to improve heart function by restoring the correct mechanical sequence of heart contractions in patients with an irregular heartbeat, called left ventricular dyssynchrony.

Syntermed will market the MHPA-based software as SyncTool, which recently has been approved by the FDA. SyncTool is designed to provide significant improvements over the widely used cardiac imaging gold standard TDI Echo technology. Advances include additional image clarity, 3-D perfusion images, an automated process that eliminates variations in interpretation, and rapid and objective physician assessment of dyssynchrony in heart failure patients.

SyncTool will be added as a new tool to the Emory Cardiac Toolbox, a vast set of software tools for evaluating cardiac images, developed by Garcia and his colleagues at Emory and elsewhere over the past 20 years. The Emory Cardiac Toolbox is used in almost half of the cardiac laboratories in the United States.

"When evaluating heart failure patients to determine the most effective therapy, it is extremely important for cardiologists and radiologists to have access to accurate imaging technology," says Garcia, who is a professor of radiology in Emory University School of Medicine. "We designed this new nuclear imaging software to improve image clarity and to provide additional features and automation that should eliminate variations in interpretation and help physicians more accurately assess patients with left ventricular dyssynchrony."

Garcia and Chen's research with MHPA has been reported in numerous journal publications, beginning with a 2005 article in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. The most recent article, in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, reports the benefits of using MHPA to measure left-ventricular mechanical dyssynchrony in predicting the outcome of CRT.

Garcia and Chen will present the results of their research with the new technology on Monday, June 16, at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in New Orleans. Syntermed also will introduce the SyncTool at the meeting.

The original Emory Cardiac Toolbox was the founding technology of Syntermed, established in 1999 as an Emory spin-off of research, technology and existing licenses to the major medical imaging companies. Garcia is the scientific founder and chief scientific advisor of Syntermed. The company is co-owned in part by Emory and Georgia Tech.

Michael Lee, chairman and CEO of Syntermed says, "Emory and Syntermed's partnership is fueling technology development, business collaborations and a successful startup company. Our success as a company is our ability to quickly facilitate the commercial development of innovated research. Together, we are playing a significant role in fueling economic development for greater Atlanta."

Mary Severson, Chief Technology Officer in Emory's Technology Transfer Office adds, "The licenses Emory has with Syntermed generate substantial revenues that support research and education at the University."


Contact: Holly Korschun
Emory University

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