ASCLS eNewsBytes
Jan. 17, 2012

Possible new treatment approaches identified
for ETP-ALL

Medscape Medical News
The first details of genetic alterations that underlie early T-cell precursor (ETP) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have come from a study that sequenced multiple genomes of this leukemia subtype. The results of this sequencing suggest that ETP-ALL is more closely linked to acute myeloid leukemia than to other subtypes of ALL. "The pathways are similar, and several of the individual genes are shared between ETP-ALL and AML," explained study author Charles Mullighan, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Pathology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn. "But there are some genes that are mutated in AML that we don't see in ETP-ALL."More

Ethics and the laboratory
ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals
Day in and out, clinical laboratory scientists are faced with the complexities and nuances of healthcare ethics. Medical laboratory professionals, from entry-level up, are constantly determining whether certain events and cases are recordable and noteworthy, followed by record maintenance on those issues. More

'Bath salts' identified as new source of flesh-eating infection
Medical News Today
A study led by Russell R. Russo, MD, a third-year Orthopaedic Surgery resident at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has identified a new source of life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis — "bath salts." The study, describing the first known case of necrotizing fasciitis from an intramuscular injection of the street drug known as "bath salts," is published in Orthopedics. More

Chipping away at idiopathic diseases
Medscape
VideoBrief
Ever since the case of Nicholas Volker in 2010 (Worthey EA et al, Genet Med 2011;13:255-262), the idea of sequencing an individual with a life threatening or very serious condition to find the root cause has been out there. Now, with whole genome sequencing costs ratcheting down quickly and techniques getting more rapid, that possibility has been potentiated. More

NIH scientists identify novel approach to view inner workings of viruses
Infection Control Today
Since the discovery of the microscope, scientists have tried to visualize smaller and smaller structures to provide insights into the inner workings of human cells, bacteria and viruses. Now, researchers at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed a new way to see structures within viruses that were not clearly seen before. Their findings are reported in Science.More

First-void urine not needed for chlamydia testing
Reuters via Medscape
While first-void urine specimens have been used traditionally to test for chlamydia trachomatis, newer DNA detection methods produce reliable results using midstream specimens, a New Zealand group reports. In the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, the researchers write, "The clinical practice implications of these results are important: urine culture and C trachomatis testing may be considered on a single specimen."More

Many clinical laboratories, other providers struggle to transition to 5010; likely to see payment shortfall
DarkDaily
Across the nation, providers, including clinical laboratories and pathology groups, are holding their collective breath as they wait to see whether implementation of the electronic claim Form 5010 goes smoothly, becomes a disaster, or ends up somewhere between. More

Cancer sequencing project identifies potential approaches to combat aggressive leukemia
ScienceDaily
Researchers have discovered that a subtype of leukemia characterized by a poor prognosis is fueled by mutations in pathways distinctly different from a seemingly similar leukemia associated with a much better outcome. The findings from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital — Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project highlight a possible new strategy for treating patients with this more aggressive cancer.More

Lupus and the autoimmune process in 2012
Clinical Advisor
Care for the patient with lupus and other autoimmune diseases has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Advancements in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of autoimmunity and cell injury have led to useful prevention strategies and safer treatments.
 In the early 1960s, the five-year mortality for systemic lupus erythematosus was 50 percent, and treatment-related morbidity was high. The picture is very different today. More

Is evolving reproductive technology ushering in a new age of eugenics?
The Globe and Mail
With the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the test tube finally succeeded where the pumpkin had failed, and the year she turned 11, scientists moved beyond making life in a lab: They found a way to peer into an embryo's genes and predict what that life might be like. That ability is now morphing into a whole new approach to baby-making, one that gives people an unprecedented power to preview, and pick, the genetic traits of their prospective children.More

Bacterial infections: New laboratory method uses mass spectrometry to rapidly detect staph infections
ScienceDaily
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a new laboratory test that can rapidly identify the bacterium responsible for staph infections. This new test takes advantage of unique isotopic labeling combined with specific bacteriophage amplification to rapidly identify Staphylococcus aureus.More

Plasma treatment zaps viruses before they can attack cells
ScienceDaily
Adenoviruses can cause respiratory, eye, and intestinal tract infections, and, like other viruses, must hijack the cellular machinery of infected organisms in order to produce proteins and their own viral spawn. Now an international research team made up of scientists from Chinese and Australian universities has found a way to disrupt the hijacking process by using plasma to damage the viruses in the laboratory environment, before they come into contact with host cells.More

Unpublished clinical research hides drug effectiveness
Discover Magazine
Scientific publishing is how researchers spread the word about whether they've learned a drug works or is safe. But a team of scientists looking at a sample of clinical trials funded by the U.S. government found that 30 months after the trials were completed, more than half had not yet been published. And that means that other studies trying to assess whether treatments are safe and effective are working with incomplete information, while the relevant trials are gathering dust on a lab bench.More

CDC warns against sharing insulin pens
HealthDay via USA Today
Due to a growing number of reports about improper use of insulin pens, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a reminder that the devices must never be used on more than one person. Using insulin pens on more than one person puts people at risk for infection with blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis viruses and HIV, which causes AIDS, the agency warns. Infection can occur even if an insulin pen's needle is changed.More