ASCLS eNewsBytes
Aug. 27, 2013

CDC-supplied drug helps save kids from brain-eating amoeba
Medscape Medical News
Two children appear to be recovering from a usually deadly infection caused by the "brain-eating amoeba" with the help of an experimental antibiotic supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC announced that it is making the antibiotic miltefosine available to treat cases of primary amebic meningoencephalitis just a day after news broke that 12-year-old Zachary Reyna of LaBelle, Fla., had beaten his PAM infection after receiving the experimental antibiotic along with other drugs. More

Order Annual Meeting session recordings
It's not too late to purchase the Annual Meeting session recordings! Listen in on the sessions you were unable to attend and share the conference with your colleagues. The session recordings are in MP4 Video Format — presentations are synchronized audio with the available PowerPoint presentations.

Purchase full access or individual sessions — download or on CD. Click here to order online. More

Register for the Sept. 12 ASCLS/APHL webinar — CLIA Update on Hot Topics by Judy Yost
This one-hour webinar will cover the latest CLIA updates from the CMS Director of the Division of Labs. For more information and to register your site, go to ASCLS members register at a discount with code FDC13.More

Lyme disease figures soar, mostly in Northeast
The Boston Globe
New estimates indicate that Lyme disease is 10 times more common than previous national counts showed, the federal government announced recently, with about 300,000 people getting the disease each year — most in the Northeast. Lyme, spread by the bite of deer ticks, is now about as prevalent in the United States as reported cases of gonorrhea and more common than syphilis and whooping cough.More

As numbers lag, HPV vaccine debate rages
Star Tribune
A large trend among young Americans declining vaccination against human papillomavirus troubles some public health officials, who say the HPV vaccine could save thousands lives and prevent dangerous cancers if more young Americans got it. Only about half of U.S. teenage girls have gotten the vaccine, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — even though the CDC has recommended it since 2006.More

Review: Needlestick injury prevention can save more than $1 billion annually
Infection Control Today
Needlestick and sharps injuries affect more than half a million healthcare personnel every year, creating over $1 billion in preventable healthcare costs every year and an immeasurable emotional toll on millions of healthcare personnel, according to a Safe in Common review of U.S. healthcare industry statistics.More

CDC awards $75.8 million to states to fight disease threats
Vaccine News Daily
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an award of approximately $75.8 million to help states and communities improve core epidemiology and laboratory capacity for disease response. The funding is meant to support surveillance, detection and response efforts in multiple infectious disease areas, including food borne diseases, vector-borne diseases, zoonotic diseases, influenza and healthcare-associated infections.More

High-throughput screening for RNA interference
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
RNA interference, or RNAi, involves the knockdown of specific gene functions. It is a reverse genetic approach for the functional analysis of a large number of genes. Furthermore, it offers the identification of structure or function of the genes, relevant to specific pathway by gene knockdown mechanisms. RNAi screening is also used for better understanding of host-pathogen interaction and cancer biology. RNAi screening has also been automated for high-throughput drug discovery studies and requires a good knowledge of computer science and engineering for automated high-content image acquisition and analysis.More

Clean sweep the legal way
Advance for Administrators of the Laboratory
Today's technology boom and "go green" initiatives are creating rapid turnover of lab equipment, supplies and electronics. Organizations who can afford to purchase modern state-of-the-art equipment and supplies at a fast clip, often find themselves evaluating their surplus possessions for the purpose of discarding them.More

Flu vaccine could 'halve' chance of heart attack for people at cardiac risk
Medical News Today
Scientists say the flu vaccination may "halve the risk of heart attack in middle-aged people with narrowed arteries." Researchers from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Australia set out to discover whether flu could be a contributing factor of increased heart attack risk.More

HIV: Early time-limited therapy lowers mortality for infants
Medscape Medical News
HIV-infected infants who received early antiretroviral therapy for a limited time and then stopped treatment had a lower risk for death or disease progression compared with infants whose treatment was delayed until medically necessary, in a South African randomized trial. Researchers report the 5-year follow-up results from the Children With HIV Antiretroviral Therapy trial in an article published online in the Lancet.More

New test system identifies 193 different yeasts, bacteria known to cause illness
Infection Control Today
The Food and Drug Administration has allowed marketing in the U.S. of the first mass spectrometer system for automated identification of bacteria and yeasts that are known to cause serious illness in humans. The VITEK MS can identify 193 different microorganisms and can perform up to 192 different tests in a single automated series of testing, with each test taking about 1 minute.More

Longer funding cycles vital in cancer research
Health Canal
If we want to cure cancer we need to think like venture capitalists. We need to recognize that making a real impact in medical research demands big, radical ideas and the willingness to take commensurate risks. UNSW Medicine's recent breakthrough in the treatment of neuroblastoma, a devastating childhood cancer, and melanoma is an important case in point.More

In regenerative medicine breakthrough, lab-grown human heart tissue beats on its own
The Verge
Progress in regenerative medicine has been coming fast and furious in recent months: Scientists are now using far-out tissue engineering techniques to restore liver function in mice, regrow human muscle and even implant bioengineered blood vessels into ailing patients. Now, a team at the University of Pittsburgh has managed to grow human heart tissue that can beat autonomously in a petri dish — an exciting step toward devising transplantable replacement organs.More

New microchip sorts white blood cells from whole blood
Early in 2012, MIT scientists reported on the development of a postage stamp-sized microchip capable of sorting cells through a technique, known as cell rolling, that mimics a natural mechanism in the body. Now the group has developed a new microchip that can quickly separate white blood cells from samples of whole blood, eliminating any preliminary processing steps — which can be difficult to integrate into point-of-care medical devices. More

CDC-supplied drug helps save kids from brain-eating amoeba
Medscape Medical News
Two children appear to be recovering from a usually deadly infection caused by the "brain-eating amoeba" with the help of an experimental antibiotic supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC announced that it is making the antibiotic miltefosine available to treat cases of primary amebic meningoencephalitis. More

Climate change impacting spread of infectious diseases
Infection Control Today
Climate change is already affecting the spread of infectious diseases — and human health and biodiversity worldwide — according to disease ecologists. Modeling disease outcomes from host and parasite responses to climate variables, they say, could help address the challenges posed by the changing landscape of infectious disease.More

Milestone study probes cancer origin
BBC News
Scientists are reporting a significant milestone for cancer research after charting 21 major mutations behind the vast majority of tumors. The disruptive changes to the genetic code, reported in Nature, accounted for 97 percent of the 30 most common cancers.More