ASCLS eNewsBytes
May 3, 2011

Stem cell research can continue to get federal funding, appeals court rules
Los Angeles Times
A U.S. appeals court cleared the way for continued federal funding of research using human embryonic stem cells, a ruling that scientists hailed as a victory for medical progress. Stem cells from embryos are believed to hold great promise for treating hard-to-treat illnesses or conditions, such as Parkinson's disease or spinal cord injuries. But the research itself remains controversial because it makes use of cells from early-stage embryos. More

Researchers discover mechanism that could convert certain cells into insulin-making cells
Simply put, people develop diabetes because they don't have enough pancreatic beta cells to produce the insulin necessary to regulate their blood sugar levels. But what if other cells in the body could be coaxed into becoming pancreatic beta cells? Could we potentially cure diabetes?More

HIV infection linked to heart failure risk
HIV infection is a risk factor for heart failure, with ongoing viral replication associated with higher risk, according to the results of a population-based, retrospective study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Whether human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a risk factor for heart failure is not clear," according to previous research as cited in the current study. "The presence of coronary heart disease and alcohol consumption in this population may confound this association."More

FDA approves abiraterone for metastatic prostate cancer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved abiraterone acetate (Zytiga, Cougar Biotechnology) in combination with prednisone for the treatment of metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer in men who have received prior docetaxel chemotherapy. More

Medical laboratory tests for consumers under investigation on 2 continents
Direct-to-Consumer medical tests are under attack by multiple federal agencies here in the United States, even as authorities in the United Kingdom similarly question the potential of these genetic tests and molecular diagnostic assays to harm and/or mislead consumers.More

Amyloid beta 1-42 linked to outcome after cardiac arrest
A new study using a sensitive assay technology shows a time-dependent rise in amyloid beta 1-42 (Aβ-42) in the blood of patients resuscitated after cardiac arrest. A strong correlation was seen between the rise and fall of Aβ-42 in the hours after arrest and clinical outcomes, suggesting the elevated Aβ-42 level is derived from the brain of these patients. It also suggests this might be used as a marker of damage in the same way that troponins reflect cardiac damage after myocardial infarction.More

Study ranks food pathogens by cost to society
The Washington Post
For the first time, researchers used federal data on food-borne illnesses to link the pathogens — bacteria, viruses or parasites — and the foods that most often carry them and then ranked them according to the financial burden they place on society. More

ASCO recommends EGFR testing for NSCLC, but for which patients?
Epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGFR) mutation testing is now recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for patients with advanced nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are "considering" first-line therapy with the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa).More

One in 1,000 newborns develops blood poisoning
HealthDay News
Most cases of bloodstream infections (sepsis) among newborns in the United States are caused by group B streptococci (GBS) and E. coli, a new study finds. Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, occurs when bacteria invade the bloodstream and cause a system-wide infection. It can lead to serious complications and poses a high risk of death in newborns. More