ASCLS eNewsBytes
Sep. 29, 2015

Liquid crystals show potential for detection of neurodegenerative disease
University of Chicago News Office via Lab Manager
Liquid crystals are familiar to most of us as the somewhat humdrum stuff used to make computer displays and TVs. Even for scientists, it has not been easy to find other uses. Now a group of researchers at the University of Chicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering is putting liquid crystals to work in a completely unexpected realm: as detectors for the protein fibers implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.More

Upcoming ASCLS/APHL webinar — Oct. 15: Competency Assessment in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory
Are you looking for methods and tools to enhance your competency assessment program? Do you need ideas about how to make these assessments meaningful and instructive? If so, then you do not want to miss the upcoming ASCLS/APHL webinar Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. EDT — Competency Assessment in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. Dr. Yvette McCarter of UF Health Jacksonville will discuss the necessary elements for a successful competency assessment program in the clinical microbiology laboratory. For more information and to register for this event, visit ASCLS members receive a discounted registration rate.More

Nonantibotic drug shows promise in deadly C-diff infections
A nonantibiotic drug already tested in people for other uses may be active in treating Clostridium difficile, a superbug that preys on people whose protective gut bacteria have been wiped out by antibiotics. Studies in mice by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine showed that the drug ebeselen, a compound being studied in clinical trials for a variety of other conditions, blocked infections by disabling the bacteria's toxins. More

Customizing viruses to fight selected bacteria
Medical News Today
The idea of using viruses to kill disease-causing bacteria is not new. But fine-tuning them to attack specific bacteria is time-consuming and expensive. Now, biological engineers have devised a system that makes it much easier to tweak the genomes of bacteria-eating viruses to target specific pathogens. More

New genetic clues to which breast cancers might return
HealthDay News
Researchers who pinpointed genetic factors associated with the return of breast cancer say their findings might lead to improved treatments. Most breast cancer patients are cured after treatment, but the disease returns in about one in five patients, either in the same location as the original tumor or in other parts of the body, the British researchers said.More

Hydrogel boosts uptake of stem cells in repairing damaged hearts
John Hopkins Medicine via Gizmag
With their ability to help repair damaged muscle, stem cells have shown promise as tools for rebuilding the body's organs, but their potential is yet to be fully realized — especially when it comes to the heart. Part of this is because only a small percentage of stem cells injected actually survive the process, but a newly developed liquid could make life a little easier for freshly transplanted cells.More

Multidrug resistance to malaria is more alarming than ever
INSERM via Infection Control Today
The efforts of the international community for the past 10 years in the fight against malaria have reduced the number of disease-related deaths. The emerging resistance to standard therapies threatening Southeast Asia are not reassuring factors.More

Scientists publish 1st complete record of genetic mutations behind rare vascular disease
University of Lincoln via ScienceDaily
The genetic architecture of a debilitating and potentially fatal vascular disease has for the first time been detailed in its entirety, providing clinicians with the comprehensive data needed to improve diagnosis and deliver more personalized patient care. More

No marked change in HIV prevalence in US adults
There's been no significant change in the prevalence of HIV infection among U.S. adults, according to the latest estimates released in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Statistics Reports. From 2007 to 2012, the prevalence of HIV infection among U.S. adults aged 18 to 59 years was 0.39 percent, down only slightly from the prior estimate of 0.47 percent for the period 1999 to 2006 among 18- to 49-year-olds, reported Joseph Woodring, D.O., M.P.H., and colleagues at the CDC.More

Medical scientists call for standard method for validating antibodies used in research and clinical laboratory diagnostics
DARK Daily
As science and industry gets better at measuring things and assessing quality, the acceptable standard often comes into question. This seems to be happening with antibodies, the most common reagents used in diagnostics, clinical laboratory diagnostic tests and medical research. In many cases, the end result is that companies and their suppliers must use new technologies and quality methods to revise the "old way" and create products that have measurable better quality. More