Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New test to identify heart failure in ER superior

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A clinical supervisor sets up trauma center monitoring equipment in a file photo.
REUTERS/Lee Celano

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A new blood test to identify heart failure patients in most dire need of treatment when they turn up at an emergency room complaining of shortness of breath proved better than current tests, according to results of a study unveiled on Tuesday.

The pivotal trial of the test developed by privately held German company Brahms AG succeeded in its goal of demonstrating superiority over tests considered the current gold standard.

"I think that this is clearly significantly better than what we have now," Dr. W. Frank Peacock of the Cleveland Clinic, one of the study's lead investigators, said in an interview. "It raises the bar."

The Brahms test was approved for use in Europe on October 1. Nils Morgenthaler, the company's vice president for global medical affairs, said this study would be part of a package Brahms will submit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of this year as it seeks approval in the world's biggest market.

"If approved in the U.S., the MR-proADM test will help ensure patients are accurately diagnosed and rapidly receive the treatment they need," Peacock said.

Results of the study were presented at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in New Orleans.

Morgenthaler said the company would be open to licensing its test to one of the larger diagnostic companies, such as Roche Holding AG. He also said Brahms was likely to become a public company in the foreseeable future.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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