ASCLS eNewsBytes
Jul. 17, 2012

Scientists pinpoint antibody that may be specific
to MS patients

Researchers have identified an antibody found in the blood of about half of patients with multiple sclerosis that is not found in people without the autoimmune disease. The implications of the antibody's presence aren't fully understood. But in rodents, the antibody binds to and damages brain cells that are known to be important to neurological function, according to the study. Although the research is preliminary, experts say the findings may open the door for a blood test that could more easily diagnosis multiple sclerosis patients. The results also suggest a new target for MS treatments that would prevent the antibody from binding to brain cells.More

Anti-EGFR agents: Not first choice as mCRC first-line
Medscape Medical News
The NORDIC-VII multicenter phase 3 trial evaluated whether the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody cetuximab enhanced efficacy when added to bolus fluorouracil/folinic acid and oxaliplatin, administered continuously or intermittently, in first-line metastatic colorectal cancer. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either standard Nordic FLOX, cetuximab and FLOX, or cetuximab combined with intermittent FLOX. More

Doctors: Mystery illness in Cambodia solved
VideoBriefThe cause of a mysterious illness that has claimed the lives of more than 60 Cambodian children has been determined, medical doctors familiar with the investigation told CNN. A combination of pathogens, disease-causing micro-organisms, is to blame for the illness, the World Health Organization, in conjunction with the Cambodian Ministry of Health, has concluded, the doctors said.More

Will LFR sequencing enable full haplotype determination in the clinic?
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Complete Genomics has published data demonstrating the use of its long-fragment repeat technology for whole-genome sequencing and haplotyping using just 10–20 human cells, or about 120 picograms of high molecular mass DNA. The technology, which the firm claims is at least 10-fold more accurate than any existing high-sensitivity method, enables full haplotype determination, or phasing, to sequence maternal and paternal chromosomes separately and thus identify whether two genetic variants within a single gene are both carried on the same or different homologous chromosomes. More

Procedural simplicity
The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments define categories of testing based on complexity. Waived tests are determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being "simple with a low risk of error," while non-waived tests are moderately or highly complex. Your procedures may mirror complexity, but simplicity with a low risk of error is always desirable.More

Researchers unravel secrets of parasites' replication
Infection Control Today
A team of microbiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has made an advance that could one day lead to a new weapon for fighting parasitic diseases such as African sleeping sickness, chagas disease and leishmaniasis. In Eukaryotic Cell, parasitologists Michele Klingbeil, doctoral candidate Jeniffer Concepción-Acevedo and colleagues report the first detailed characterization of the way key proteins in the model parasite Trypanosoma brucei organize to replicate its mitochondrial DNA. More

Studies examine risk of poor birth outcomes, nervous system disorder following H1N1 vaccination
Infection Control Today
In studies examining the risk of adverse outcomes after receipt of the influenza A(H1N1) vaccine, infants exposed to the vaccine in utero did not have a significantly increased risk of major birth defects, preterm birth or fetal growth restriction; while in another, study researchers found a small increased risk in adults of the nervous system disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome, during the four to eight weeks after vaccination, according to two studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association. More

Linking public health agencies, hospitals for improved emergency preparedness
Medscape Medical News
In 2003, 11 public health epidemiologists were placed in North Carolina's largest hospitals to enhance communication between public health agencies and healthcare systems for improved emergency preparedness. A report describes the specific services public health epidemiologists provide to local health departments, the North Carolina Division of Public Health, and the hospitals in which they are based, and assesses the value of these services to stakeholders.More

Hepatitis C virus more frequent among African-Americans and males
Medical News Today
Epidemiologists have determined that levels of hepatitis C virus found among injection drug users were higher in individuals who are male or African-American even after differences in other factors were considered. The study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute and performed with collaborators from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and the University of California - San Francisco, was the first to simultaneously examine the association of demographic, viral and human genetic factors on HCV RNA levels. More

Gene that fights Alzheimer's may inspire new treatments
A gene that causes the rare, early-onset form of Alzheimer's disease can also carry a mutation that produces the opposite effect, staving off the devastating illness, scientists announced. The finding, published in the journal Nature, suggests that new drugs that mimic the mutation's effect could do the same, researchers said.More

HIV prophylaxis for heterosexuals: Conflicting trial results
Medscape Medical News
HIV prophylaxis with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate alone or in combination with emtricitabine, together with counseling and other preventive measures, appears to effectively combat HIV transmission in heterosexuals, according to the findings of three randomized controlled trials. The findings of one of the trials, however, highlighted potential problems with patient compliance. The FEM-PReP Study Group, TDF2 Study Group, and Partners PReP Study Team presented their findings in separate articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine.More

Computer model could aid cyberwarfare, conservation, disease prevention
Medical News Today
A computer model developed at the University of Missouri could help military strategists devise the most damaging cyber attacks as well as guard America's critical infrastructure. The model also could benefit other projects involving interconnected groups, such as restoring ecosystems, halting disease epidemics and stopping smugglers. More

Myelodysplastic syndrome linked to abnormal stem cells
As researchers suspected, abnormal bone marrow stem cells trigger the development of myelodysplastic syndromes, serious blood diseases that affect the bone marrow and can progress to leukemia, according to a new study. The new findings, published in the July 2 online edition of Blood, could lead to improved treatments for myelodysplastic syndrome and cancers related to the syndrome, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, in New York City, suggested in an Einstein news release.More