viernes, 15 de noviembre de 2013



Laboratory Science, Policy and Practice Program Office

Healthcare News

A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
from The Division of Laboratory Science and Standards


November 14, 2013

View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive

CMS Unveils Tool Allowing Researchers to Access Federal Healthcare Data

Called the CMS Virtual Research Data Center, the tool is designed to allow researchers to access and manipulate CMS data from their own secure desktop computers, the agency said in a releaseExternal Web Site Icon. That's a far cry from the current system in which the CMS fields individual researchers' data requests and then prepares and sends massive encrypted files.
In a blog postExternal Web Site Icon, Niall Brennan, acting director of the CMS Offices of Enterprise Management, said Medicare data covering 2012 are “only now being shipped to researchers.”

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New Option for Laboratories to Meet CLIA Quality Control Requirements: Individualized Quality Control Plan

Two year Education and Transition period begins January 1, 2014
CMS has approved a new quality control option for laboratories to meet the Quality Control (QC) requirements of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), the Individualized Quality Control PlanExternal Web Site Icon (IQCP). This plan uses a risk management approach. Laboratories may begin using IQCP on January 1, 2014. Currently, laboratories have the option of following the CLIA QC regulations or using Equivalent Quality Control (EQC). Laboratories may continue to use these options during the Education and Transition period of January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015.
Are you an eligible professional?PQRS EPs provide services which are paid under or are based on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS); those services are eligible for PQRS incentive payments for satisfactory 2013 participation.

Source: Adobe PDF fileExternal Web Site Icon


The Pros and Cons of Noninvasive Prenatal Screening

Noninvasive prenatal screening, using cell-free fetal DNA circulating in maternal blood, offers an early method of detecting certain fetal chromosomal abnormalities. As a new technology, many uncertainties exist about the place of noninvasive prenatal screening in the management of pregnancy, and it will take time for guidelines and recommendations on the use of this type of screening to be formulated and disseminated. In the meantime, these tests have made so many headlines that clinicians must be ready with answers when women come in to the office asking for the test. Medscape spoke with Susan Klugman, MD, Director of Reproductive Genetics at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, about what clinicians need to know about nonvinasive prenatal screening.

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California Prenatal Screening Program

Illumina, Inc. has announced that the verifi® prenatal test… will be available to pregnant women in California through the state's Prenatal Screening Program. Women screening positive who desire a non-invasive prenatal test will be referred to a designated state-approved Prenatal Diagnostic Center, many of whom have elected to offer the verifi® prenatal test for their patients. The California Prenatal Screening Program screens nearly 400,000 women annually and is the largest prenatal screening program in the world.
The California Prenatal Screening Program is conducted through the state of California Genetic Disease Screening Program. The voluntary Prenatal Screening Program was established to provide pregnant women with improved screening for genetic disorders.

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Down's Pregnancy Blood Test on Trial

A simple blood test during pregnancy which can detect Down's syndrome in the developing foetus is to be trialled by the NHS. It could significantly reduce the number of women needing invasive testing, which can cause miscarriage. The study at Great Ormond Street Hospital will assess how and when the blood test could be introduced across the NHS.
The new blood test, which is already available privately, looks for tiny fragments of DNA from the placenta and the foetus floating in the mother's bloodstream. It is thought to be 99% accurate. Those with a positive result will still be offered the invasive procedure to confirm the result.

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Family Tree DNA Expands Beyond Array-based Offerings With New Y Chromosome Sequencing Service

Family Tree DNA this week launched a Y chromosome sequencing service with an introductory sale price of $495 per sample. Called the Big Y DNA Test, Family Tree DNA claims that its new product allows users to explore at least 10-million-base-pairs of the Y chromosome, including 25,000 known SNPs, at an average coverage of 60X.  Houston-based Family Tree DNA is not the first company to see a business opportunity in making Y chromosome sequencing available as a service. Earlier this year, Full Genomes, a privately held Rockville, Md.-based firm introduced "comprehensive Y chromosome sequencing" for a price of $1,250 (BAN 10/1/2013External Web Site Icon).
Consumer genomics players reacted differently to Full Genomes' launch. While representatives for and National Geographic's Genographic Project said they had no plans to introduce sequencing-based services, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA confirmed that they were interested in developing products based on the technology.

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MRSA Declines in Veteran's Hospitals Nationwide

Five years after implementing a national initiative to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates in Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, MRSA cases have continued to decline, according to a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
In the two-year period following the first wave of the initiative (data previously published[i]), both MRSA transmissions and HAIs continued to decrease in non-ICU settings (declining an additional 13.7 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively), while holding steady in ICUs. The MRSA Prevention Initiative utilizes a bundled approach that includes screening every patient for MRSA, use of gowns and gloves when caring for patients colonized or infected with MRSA, hand hygiene, and an institutional culture change focusing on individual responsibility for infection control.

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Affymetrix, Inc. : New Microarray for Identifying and Subtyping Pathogenic E. coli Using Unique DNA Signatures

Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFX) announces the availability of a multi-genome pathogen microarray, designed by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and built by Affymetrix, for the detection and identification of pathogenic E. coli during foodborne outbreaks. This custom designed microarray contains tens of thousands of biomarkers mined from over 250 E. coli whole genome sequences, making it a true representation of the E. coli PanGenome. In addition to containing every known E. coli gene (>40,000), the design contains over 10,000 highly informative single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) biomarkers. As a result, this hybrid array is highly discriminatory as well as biologically and evolutionarily informative.

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NanoString Launches the nCounter Dx Analysis System for U.S. Market

NanoString Technologies, Inc., …a provider of life science tools for translational research and molecular diagnostic products, …announced the availability of the nCounter® Dx Analysis System for high-complexity, CLIA-certified laboratories. The nCounter Dx Analysis System is the only platform 510(k) cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to run the Prosigna™ Prognostic Breast Cancer Gene Signature Assay.
The Prosigna™ Breast Cancer Prognostic Gene Signature Assay is an in vitro diagnostic assay which uses the gene expression profile of cells found in breast cancer tissue to assess a patient’s risk of distant recurrence. The assay measures the gene expression profile using RNA extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) breast tumor tissue. Prosigna is not intended for diagnosis, to predict or detect response to therapy, or to help select the optimal therapy for patients.

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Health IT Could Reduce Demand For Physicians

If health IT were fully implemented in 30% of community-based physicians' offices, the gains in efficiency would reduce demand for physicians by 4% to 9%, according to a new study in Health Affairs.External Web Site Icon If 70% of office-based physicians adopted comprehensive health IT -- including interoperable EHRs, clinical decision support, provider order entry and patient Web portals with secure messaging -- the impact on physician workforce requirements would be twice as large, the study said.
In addition, the study pointed out, 5% to 10% of real-time "office-based care" could be delivered remotely by providers whose patients are not in the physician's office. And 5% to 15% of care "could involve interactions between consumers and providers not only from separate locations, but at different points in time." Together, these factors could reduce regional shortages of physicians by 12%, the study said.

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Utah Physician Invents Disease-Diagnosing Smartphone App

Intermountain Medical Center physician Joel Ehrenkranz has invented a smartphone app that diagnoses diseases. To show how his i-calQExternal Web Site Icon app works, Ehrenkranz drew a small amount of blood from Brittnie, an expectant mother. She was not in a clinic or a lab, but outside in a small park. Ehrenkranz placed the blood sample in a holder then inserted it into an inexpensive reader attached to a smartphone.  In one minute, the smartphone had the results of her blood hemoglobin. Within 15 minutes, it had evaluated her thyroid test.
…Ehrenkranz got the idea for this new technology in 2007 while working on the border between Uganda and the Congo. During an Ebola outbreak he theorized the beginnings of smartphone technology that could evolve into an immediate diagnosing tool.

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New Look at Old Test May Provide Earlier Detection of Meningitis, MU Researchers Find

Abnormalities in particular white blood cells hold key to findings
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have found a more accurate method to screen for bacterial meningococcal infection in its early stages, when it's hardest to detect. According to the researchers, the method for diagnosis could save lives by getting patients treatment earlier, when the infection is most treatable.
"When we talk about early diagnosis, we're not talking about days, but rather hours and even minutes," said Michael Cooperstock, M.D., professor of child health in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the MU School of Medicine, medical director of infection control at University of Missouri Health Care and senior author of the study.
"Our study suggests that physicians should look not at the total white cell count but at the total number of neutrophils, the total number of band neutrophils and the ratio of band to total neutrophils as an indicator that could lead to a suspicion of meningococcal infection," Cooperstock said. "If any of the three neutrophil indicators are outside a certain range, there is a possibility that the patient has a serious bacterial infection, including the possibility of meningococcal disease, and would need careful attention."

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Better Tests Needed to Improve Patient Care, Public Health

Despite advances in diagnostic technology, there is an urgent need for tests that are easy to use, identify the bug causing an infection and provide results faster than current tests, according to a report from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) published in a special supplement to Clinical Infectious DiseasesExternal Web Site Icon. The report, "Better Tests, Better Care: Improved Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases," outlines specific recommendations to spur research and development of new diagnostics, and to encourage their use in patient care and public health.
"With the current state of diagnostic testing, we are handicapped, making decisions based on limited or nonspecific information - in situations ranging from helping individual patients to identifying broader public health threats," said Angela M. Caliendo, MD, PhD, an infectious diseases physician, lead author of the paper and executive vice chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, R.I. "It is critical that we not only invest in the development of new diagnostic tests, but that we also work to ensure these new tests are fully integrated into patient care."

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Qiagen, Maverix Biomics Ink Informatics Co-Marketing Deal

Maverix Biomics announced today that it has signed a non-exclusive co-marketing agreement with Qiagen to integrate the Maverix Analytic platform with Qiagen's Ingenuity iReport biological data interpretation solution.
Qiagen acquired Ingenuity SystemsExternal Web Site Icon earlier this year for $105 million. The deal provided the firm with a portfolio of informatics products including the Ingenuity Knowledge Base, which together with software applications, allow researchers to interpret large amounts of biological data in order to guide scientific experiments and medical treatment decisions.
In a separate announcement today, Qiagen said that it has begun enrolling molecular diagnostics laboratories in an early-access program for a new "web-based solution to deliver faster, easier-to-use and high-confidence clinical interpretation and reporting of observed gene variants in data from next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based tests.

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Home Test for Pharyngitis May Reduce Unneeded Strep Cultures

A patient-driven approach to streptococcal pharyngitis diagnosis using a new home test score might save on unnecessary physician visits, cultures, and treatment, according to a retrospective cohort study published online November 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. However, some experts are skeptical of the home score algorithm and of its potential cost-savings.
The goal of this study was to help patients decide when to visit a clinician for evaluation of sore throat. The study sample consisted of 71,776 patients at least 15 years of age who were evaluated for pharyngitis from September 2006 to December 2008 at one of a national chain of retail health clinics.

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New Strep Throat Risk Score Brings Data Together to Improve Care

A new risk measure called a "home score" could save a patient with symptoms of strep throat a trip to the doctor, according to a new paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine, conducted by Andrew Fine, MD, MPH, and Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, of Boston Children's Hospital. The score combines patients' symptoms and demographic information with data on local strep throat activity to estimate their strep risk, empowering them to seek care appropriately. The home score represents the first health care tool to bring patient-contributed data and public health "big data" together to assess an individual's risk for a communicable disease.
The score is calculated using a patient's symptoms (i.e., presence or absence of fever and/or cough) and age. It also incorporates a statistic developed by Mandl and Fine, of Boston Children's 's Division of Emergency Medicine and Informatics Program, which captures the recent strep incidence in the patient's geographic area. If a patient's home score is low, then his or her risk of having an active strep infection is also low and a doctor's visit may not be warranted.

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Clinical Alarms Top ECRI Institute List of Health IT Hazards

Clinical alarm hazards remain at the top of the list due to their prevalence and their potential to result in serious patient harm, according to ECRI [Emergency Care Research Institute], a nonprofit health IT organization. New topics on the list this year include hazards related to radiation exposure in hybrid operating rooms and complications arising from insufficient training in the application of robotic surgery. The list also includes two hazards describing risks to pediatric patients: computed tomography (CT) radiation dose and the use of technologies designed for adults. Coming in fourth place on the list were data integrity failures in electronic health records (EHRs) and other health IT systems. The presence of incorrect data could lead to incorrect treatment causing patient harm, and the data in an EHR or other health IT system can be compromised, the report noted.

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Epigenetic Clock Marks Age of Human Tissues and Cells

Dr. Steve Horvath from the University of California, Los Angeles, examined the relationship between DNA methylation and aging. He took advantage of publicly available methylation datasets, including ones from The Cancer Genome Atlas, a joint effort of NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The datasets were developed by hundreds of researchers and comprised almost 8,000 samples of 51 healthy tissues and cell types. Samples came from people ranging in age from newborns to 101 years. They included tissues from throughout the body, including the brain, breast, skin, colon, kidney, liver, lung, and heart.
“Pinpointing a set of biomarkers that keeps time throughout the body has been a 4-year challenge,” Horvath says. “My goal in inventing this age-predictive tool is to help scientists improve their understanding of what speeds up and slows down the human aging process.”

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USAF Funds Sanford-Burnham Chemical Screening Initiative

Sanford-Burhnam Medical Research Institute said today it has received a grant from the US Department of the Air Force to use cell-based assays to study the potential toxicity of large collections of chemicals.
USAF Lt. Col. Darrin Ott said Air Force service members "spend time in challenging environments, performing complex missions that have unique chemical mixtures" or newly-developed chemicals, and that this project may lead to "a smarter way to determine potential toxicity and better ensure the health of our personnel and environment."

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'Good Cholesterol' Created in the Lab Could Someday Treat Cardiovascular and Other Diseases  

A new type of "good cholesterol," made in the lab, could one day deliver drugs to where they are needed in the body to treat disease or be used in medical imaging, according to scientists. Their report on the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) mimic, which is easy to make in large amounts, appears in the journal ACS Nano.
Because it acts like a scavenger, collecting cholesterol and taking it to the liver for breakdown, HDL has emerged from being simply a marker for cardiovascular disease … to being a therapeutic agent. Clinical trials are testing its potential to combat atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaques in blood vessels that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

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Newly Approved Ultrasound Device Eliminates Risks and Pain of Liver Biopsy

Henry Ford Hospital is the first in Michigan to use a pioneering ultrasound device that can help patients with liver disease avoid invasive biopsies to manage their disorders. FibroScan® replaces repeated and sometimes painful liver biopsies for patients with chronic hepatitis C and B, fatty liver diseases and other hepatic disorders with a quick and painless procedure similar to the familiar ultrasound tests used to track pregnancy and diagnose internal diseases. The device is based on a technology called transient elastography, which measures liver "stiffness" to assess disease and guide ongoing treatment.
Using FibroScan ®, the skin in the area of the liver is first coated with a water-based gel. The doctor then passes an ultrasound sensor over the area to take 10 consecutive readings. The data collected during the readings are collected and analyzed in the console connected to the sensor, and provides immediate results on the presence and severity of liver fibrosis.

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First Real-Life Study Finds Xpert Test Improves TB Diagnosis and Treatment but Does Not Reduce Long-Term TB-Related Illness

The first randomised trial to measure the impact of the rapid Xpert MTB/RIF test for tuberculosis (TB) in a real-life clinical setting finds that it can be accurately performed by a non-specialist with minimal training, improves same-day diagnosis and time to starting treatment, and increases the number of people who start treatment after testing positive on day 1 by 50%, compared with conventional TB diagnostics. "Despite already being rolled-out in many countries, our study is the first to look at the feasibility of the Xpert test in a real-life clinical setting in southern Africa", explains study leader Professor Keertan Dheda from the Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town in South Africa in The Lancet.
Despite a longer delay to treatment in the microscopy group, no difference in the severity TB-related illness, which correlates well with longer term prognosis, was noted after 2 months and 6 months between the groups. However, the Xpert test diagnosed more culture-confirmed cases of TB (154 of 185 [83%]) compared to microscopy (91 of 182 [50%]), with improved same-day rates of treatment initiation (52% vs 35%), and halved drop-out rates (people who tested positive but did not start treatment; 15% vs 8%).

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Software Design Can Affect Lab Tests Ordered

Modifying the software list of lab tests for a particular condition can affect the number and relevance of those ordered, according to researchExternal Web Site Icon from the University of Missouri. Victoria Shaffer, an assistant professor of health sciences in the MU School of Health Professions, and her team focused on three configurations in the same electronic medical system….
"Using a set of recommended defaults keeps costs down but requires consensus about which tests to set as defaults," Shaffer said in an announcementExternal Web Site Icon. Shaffer said it's vital for software designers to work with clinical users to create optimal products.

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First Real-Life Study Finds Xpert Test Improves TB Diagnosis and Treatment but Does Not Reduce Long-Term TB-Related Illness

A list released on October 28th, identified five commonly performed tests and procedures in pulmonary medicine that may not always be necessary. The list, part of the ABIM Foundation's Choosing Wisely® campaign, was produced by a collaborative task force assembled by the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). The five recommendations in pulmonary medicine are:
  • Do not perform CT surveillance for evaluation of indeterminate pulmonary nodules at more frequent intervals or for a longer period of time than recommended by established guidelines.
  • Do not routinely offer pharmacologic treatment with advanced vasoactive agents approved only for the management of pulmonary arterial hypertension to patients with pulmonary hypertension resulting from left-sided heart disease or hypoxemic lung diseases (groups II or III pulmonary hypertension).
  • For patients recently discharged on supplemental home oxygen following hospitalization for an acute illness, do not renew the prescription without assessing the patient for ongoing hypoxemia.
  • Do not perform chest computed tomography (CT angiography) to evaluate for possible pulmonary embolism in patients with a low clinical probability and negative results of a highly sensitive D-dimer assay.
  • Do not perform CT screening for lung cancer among patients at low risk for lung cancer.
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Immune System Shapes Skin Microbiome

The human body contains many microbes, some of which are necessary for healthy bodily functions including digestion. Others, such as some microbes living on our skin, may be pathogenic. Previous studies investigated how these microbes educate and shape the human immune system. There is little known, however, if the immune system influences the types of microbes that live on the skin and thus potentially prevents disease. "In addition to questions about how microbes affect the human host, there is an interest in understanding how the human host affects the microbes that make our skin their home," says Heidi Kong of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and co-senior author of the study. "Our findings suggest that the human body, including our immune systems, constrains and potentially selects which bacteria and fungi can inhabit skin," says Kong.
Scientists from the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and the National Cancer Institute contributed to this study.

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New Implantable Sensor Paves Way to Long-Term Monitoring

Carbon nanotubes that detect nitric oxide can be implanted under the skin for more than a year.  Nitric oxide (NO) is one of the most important signaling molecules in living cells, carrying messages within the brain and coordinating immune system functions. In many cancerous cells, levels are perturbed, but very little is known about how NO behaves in both healthy and cancerous cells.
“Nitric oxide has contradictory roles in cancer progression, and we need new tools in order to better understand it,” says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. “Our work provides a new tool for measuring this important molecule, and potentially others, in the body itself and in real time.”

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Knowing Who Their Physician Is Boosts Patient Satisfaction

Knowing who your doctor is — and a couple of facts about that person — may go a long way toward improving patient satisfaction, according to a Vanderbilt study in the Journal of Orthopaedic TraumaExternal Web Site Icon.
Faced with the knowledge that between 82 percent and 90 percent of medical patients are unable to correctly name their treating physician following inpatient admission, orthopaedic trauma surgeon Alex Jahangir, M.D., and his Vanderbilt colleagues studied the effects of giving a randomized group of patients a simple biosketch card about their doctor. What they learned is that patient satisfaction scores for the group receiving the card were 22 percent higher than those who did not receive the card.

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MU Center Offers Country's First Certified Health Literacy Training

Course will teach health providers to improve communication with patients and families
The University of Missouri Center for Health Policy is participating in a national push to improve health literacy and reduce health care costs by offering the country's first board-certified health literacy quality improvement training for health care providers. "The ability to understand health information is the number one indicator of positive health outcomes because so much of health care is about what we read and understand," said Karen Edison, MD, Center for Health Policy director and co-founder of the training program.
The Health Quality Improvement Module from the MU Center for Health Policy gives health care providers and their hospitals the tools and personalized coaching to enhance their communication with patients, family members and caregivers. The course meets three key goals outlined in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy:
  • It promotes changes in the health care system that improve health information, communication, informed decision making and access to health services.
  • It trains providers in effective, evidence-based health literacy practices.
  • It provides guidance and support to establish patient-centered communication policies.
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Listeria’s Resistance to Disinfectants

Listeria poses a significant risk to human health. The bacterium is frequently transmitted via dairy products, so it is important to disinfect dairies regularly. Unfortunately, listeria is developing resistance to the most frequently used compounds. Work in the group of Stephan Schmitz-Esser at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) has uncovered the mechanism for resistance to benzalkonium chloride. The findings have been published in the online journal Plos One.

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Mount Sinai Researchers Identify Mechanisms and Potential Biomarkers of Tumor Cell Dormancy

Oncologists have long puzzled over the fact that after cancer treatment, single cancer cells that are dispersed throughout the body – so-called disseminated tumor cells – are quick to grow and form secondary tumors called metastases in certain organs, while in other organs they metastasize more slowly, sometimes decades later. Such is the case with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells, which remain dormant when lodged in bone marrow but rapidly form tumors when they make their way into the lungs.
A study published online October 27 by Nature Cell Biology by Bragado et al. reveals that bone marrow contains high levels of TGFβ2, which activates the tumor suppressor gene p38 in tumor cells and triggers a cascade of events that renders tumor cells dormant and keeps HNSCC growth in check. In the lungs, where TGFβ2 is in short supply, these cells rapidly form tumors.

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New Experiments Reveal the Types of Bacteria Involved in Human Decomposition

A new field of forensic science turns its attention to bacteria
The type of bacteria involved in human decomposition can change over time, according to new research published October 30th in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, by Aaron Lynne and colleagues at Sam Houston State University and Baylor College of Medicine.
A corpse is far from dead when viewed as an ecosystem for tiny bugs and microorganisms. Bacteria can take some credit for driving the natural process of human decomposition, but we know little about the diversity of bacterial species involved. Previous studies have been unfortunately limited to the traditional approach of culturing bacteria, whereas the vast majority of bacteria residing in the human body cannot actually be cultured experimentally.  To help address this problem, the authors studied the decomposition of two human cadavers under natural conditions.

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Newly Identified Protein Could Be a Cancer Key

Scientists at the University of Dundee have identified a protein that could be key in the fight against cancer. Researchers in the College of Life Sciences at Dundee have demonstrated that cancer cells need a protein called Bod1 to grow and divide. When this protein is removed cancer cells lose control of cell division and die. The new findings reveal how PP2A is regulated and suggest a new approach for killing cancer cells might involve interrupting the interaction between Bod1 and PP2A. The research is published in the journal Nature Communications.

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New Weapon in Fight Against Superbugs

The ever-increasing threat from "superbugs" -- strains of pathogenic bacteria that are impervious to the antibiotics that subdued their predecessor generations -- has forced the medical community to look for bactericidal weapons outside the realm of traditional drugs. One promising candidate is the antimicrobial peptide (AMP), one of Mother Nature's lesser-known defenses against infections, that kills a pathogen by creating, then expanding, nanometer-sized pores in the cell membrane until it bursts. However, before this phenomenon can be exploited as a medical therapy, researchers need a better understanding of how AMPs and membranes interact at the molecular level.
The research team includes scientists from the NPL, the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, Freie University Berlin and IBM. The team's latest publication, "Nanoscale imaging reveals laterally expanding antimicrobial pores in lipid bilayers," recently appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

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New Study Evaluates Outcomes of Providing Access to Platelet Function Testing in a Clinical Setting

According to a new study of heart attack patients treated with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), free access to platelet function testing had only a modest impact on anti-clotting drug selection and dosing. Findings of the TRANSLATE-POPS trial were presented today at the 25th annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific symposium. While previous trials have examined platelet function testing-guided antiplatelet treatment strategies among patients undergoing PCI, little is known regarding how this testing impacts real world practice. The TRANSLATE-POPS trial evaluated whether routine availability of platelet function testing alters clinician selection and dosing of anti-clotting therapy, as well as patient outcomes after acute myocardial infarction treated with PCI. The primary end point was the rate of in-hospital therapeutic adjustments to anti-clotting therapy.

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Canadian Discoveries Pivotal to the Science of Toxins and Illness Associated With E. coli

Many Canadian scientists and clinicians were unsung heroes during the early years of research unfolding around verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC). In an article published… in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology, Dr. Nevio Cimolai, a clinician and medical microbiologist in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. documents the history of this area of study, focusing on the key discoveries and major contributions made by Canadians to the science of what many people refer to as ‘hamburger disease.’
Many Canadian investigators, but especially those in the veterinary school at the University of Guelph, also contributed to the science of VTEC among animals. The interactions between clinical and veterinary researchers led to a then unprecedented exponential growth in the knowledge base of VTEC.

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Weight Reduced and Blood Sugar Improved by New Multiple Action Intestinal Hormone

Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen and the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, together with scientists in the USA, have developed a new therapeutic approach for treatment of Type 2 diabetes. A novel single molecule hormone, which acts equally on the receptors of the insulin-stimulating hormones GLP-1 and GIP, was observed to reduce weight and improve blood sugar. The results have now been published in the medical journal Science Translational Medicine, and include data from successful clinical studies in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Roche.
The newly discovered GLP-1/GIP co-agonists lead to improved blood sugar levels and to a significant weight loss and lower blood fat. Importantly, the researchers observed that the new substance also improved metabolism in humans, in addition to beneficial effects they discovered in several animal models.

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New Substance Effectively Combats Multi-Resistant Bacteria

In Europe alone, more than 25,000 people die each year from infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria. Researchers from University of Copenhagen have now developed and characterized a substance that quickly and effectively kills the virulent bacteria. The substance employs a multifunctional mechanism that reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance. The findings have recently been published in the scientific journal Chemistry & BiologyExternal Web Site Icon.
“We have succeeded in preparing and characterizing a very stable substance that kills multi-resistant bacteria extremely quickly and effectively. The most interesting aspect is that the bacteria are attacked using a multifunctional mechanism that drastically
reduces the risk of resistance development compared with traditional antibiotics,” says Rasmus Jahnsen.

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UNC-Malawi Cancer Pathology Laboratory Is a Model for Sub-Saharan Africa

Since 2011, the University of North Carolina has partnered with the government of Malawi to establish a pathology laboratory in the nation’s capital, building on an existing decades-long collaboration. The laboratory has provided an invaluable service to patients and has also built capacity at a national teaching hospital, according to an analysis of the first 20 months of operation published (date) online by PLOS ONE.
“A robust platform for cancer care and research now exists in a setting where it did not previously, and can serve as a model for similar interventions throughout sub-Saharan Africa,” said Satish Gopal, MD, MPH, study author and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Global Oncology Program. “Telepathology has been an important tool for collaboration, rather than a primary mode by which diagnostic interpretation are rendered. Importantly, it cannot be a substitute for training a sufficient number of Malawian pathologists and laboratory technicians to provide essential diagnostic services,” said Dr. Gopal. In this regard, UNC has directly supported the training of technicians abroad who have now returned to Lilongwe to staff the lab.
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Disclaimer- The information provided in this news digest is intended only to be general summary information. It does not represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is not intended to take the place of applicable laws or regulations.

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