ASCLS eNewsBytes
June. 14, 2011

Hairy-cell leukemia disease-defining
mutation identified

Medscape Medical News
A mutation known as BRAF V600E has been identified in 100 percent of hairy-cell leukemia cases but in none of the peripheral B-cell lymphomas and leukemias tested, suggesting that this mutation is a disease-defining characteristic. The finding "provides valuable insight" into the disease, says an expert, and potentially opens up new avenues for diagnostic testing and opportunities for targeted drug therapy (such as with BRAF inhibitors, which are already being studied in melanoma).More

Endocrine Society issues practice guideline on vitamin D
Medscape Medical News
The Endocrine Society unveiled a Clinical Practice Guideline on the evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency, with an emphasis on the care of patients who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.More

University of California San Diego-led team finds genetic key to blood stem cells
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Scientists have long been able to grow stem cells from embryos and adult skin cells that can be turned into potential medical treatments for disease and injuries. But that hasn't been the case with the building blocks of blood cells that reside inside the bone marrow of humans and other vertebrates.More

Rare infection strikes victims of a tornado in Missouri
The New York Times
Several people who were injured when a tornado devastated Joplin, Mo., last month have become sickened by an uncommon, deadly fungal infection and at least three have died, although public health officials said that a link between the infection and the deaths was not certain. On June 10, the death toll from the tornado was raised to 151. More

Styrofoam chemical styrene added to possible carcinogens list
ABC News
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added eight more substances to its "known human carcinogen" or "reasonably anticipated to be carcinogen" lists today, one week after a World Health Organization study concluded that cell phones may cause cancer. More

Ovarian cancer screening does more harm than good
Los Angeles Times
An 18-year study from the National Cancer Institute has found that widespread screening for ovarian cancer doesn't save lives but does set up many women for needless surgery and avoidable complications. The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, were not a complete surprise, said study co-author Dr. Christine Berg of the National Cancer Institute. More

Liver cell creation from stem cells simplified
BBC News
Scientists in Bath, located in the southwest of England, have discovered a simpler way of creating precursor liver cells from stem cells, which could be used to test new medicines.More

Artificial limbs to gain touch sense
Detroit Free Press
In an underground laboratory at the University of Chicago, neuroscientist Sliman Bensmaia peered at a blue computer monitor attached by wires to a rhesus monkey's brain. A lab technician grazed the animal's finger using a metal probe, and the computer screen erupted in red. More

Salmonella linked to poultry hatchery
The Columbus Dispatch
At least 39 people in 15 states have been sickened in a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to chicks and ducklings sold by an Ohio hatchery. Nationwide, there have been nine hospitalizations and no deaths. More

Overwhelmed by hundreds of E.coli patients in Germany, hospital staffers reach their limits
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Blood specialist Dr. Cay-Uwe von Seydewitz has been making his rounds 16 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, since the outbreak of a deadly bacterial epidemic.Like other doctors, nurses and hospital staff around Germany, for von Seydewitz taking a day off has not been an option.More

In heart of Amazon, a natural lab to study diseases
NPR
The city of Iquitos, Peru, in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, has become a giant open-air laboratory to study the spread of dengue fever. Scientists are also using this city-size experiment to find out what works best to stop it. More

Swine flu starting to show resistance to drugs
Reuters
Researchers said more than 30 percent of H1N1 swine flu infection samples from northern Australia, and more than 10 percent of those in Singapore, collected during the early months of 2011 had mildly reduced sensitivity to the two drugs. There was no significant reduction in sensitivity to peramivir, an experimental flu drug from BioCryst Pharmaceuticals.More