ASCLS eNewsBytes
Oct. 23, 2012

How did steroids linked to meningitis outbreak get contaminated?
The Associated Press via Fox News
The types of fungus believed to be responsible for the deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak are common, found indoors and outdoors, and most people harmlessly breathe them in and our lungs filter them out. What made these fungi deadly was the fact they were injected directly into the blood stream. Doctors are generally leery of using spinal steroid injections that contain preservatives because of fears the preservatives themselves can cause side effects.More

Hepatitis C point-of-care tests are highly accurate
Medscape Medical News
A new meta-analysis demonstrates that point-of-care tests for the diagnosis of hepatitis C have a high level of accuracy and may help increase screening rates for this disease. These findings are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study, led by Sushmita Shivkumar, MSc, from McGill University and McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, reviewed 19 studies that evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of POCTs and rapid diagnostic tests that screen for HCV in oral fluid, whole blood, serum or plasma.More

Inside Vanderbilt lab where meningitis outbreak was discovered
VideoBriefThe microbiology lab at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., is the kind of place that would make any high school biology dropout cringe, filled with vials, test tubes and enough petri dishes to fill a small warehouse. Over the last 19 years lab technologist Tonya Snyder has been looking through microscopes here, examining cultures from patients and helping doctors make diagnosis. But what she saw recently on a slide from a sickened patient though was the beginning of the meningitis outbreak.More

First-of-its-kind self-assembled nanoparticle for targeted and triggered thermo-chemotherapy
Excitement around the potential for targeted nanoparticles that can be controlled by stimulus outside of the body for cancer therapy has been growing over the past few years. More specifically, there has been considerable attention around near-infrared light as an ideal method to stimulate nanoparticles from outside the body.More

DNA damage response network integrates with other cell activities, opens door to new cancer therapies
Medical News Today
Researchers have discovered that an intricate system to repair DNA damage called the "DNA damage response" contains previously unknown components, including proteins that could be targeted as sensitizers for chemotherapy. Some of these targets may already have drugs available that have unrecognized uses in cancer therapy, said the researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at the University of South Florida; Duke University; Johns Hopkins University; the Brazilian National Cancer Institute; and the Rio de Janeiro Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology. More

Practice-changing transplant study in blood cancers
Medscape Medical News
Peripheral blood should not be the default source of stem cells for transplantation in blood cancer patients without a family donor, according to a first-of-its-kind study. In this population, peripheral-blood stem cells did not improve survival, compared with bone-marrow cells, but were significantly associated with a highly undesirable adverse effect – chronic graft-vs-host disease. More

Researchers develop technology that predicts metastasis in breast cancer
Medical Xpress
Researchers at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and The Institute of Photonic Sciences have collaborated on the development of a diagnostic tool that identifies the metastatic ability of breast cancer cells. The analysis is based on the characterization of the lipid component of the cells, which is indicative of malignancy.More

Laboratories seek new ways to take a look inside
The New York Times
In a bioengineering laboratory at Stanford University, Christopher Contag, a microbiologist, is designing new approaches to "virtual" pathology. He has created a variety of instruments that can travel the esophagus, stomach and intestine, allowing pathologists to probe for cancers by peering in three dimensions below the surface of the skin. More

TB campaign threatened by drug resistance
Medical News Today
The number of people who are being infected with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis has increased significantly; too few are being diagnosed and treated, says the World Health Organization. The campaign to reduce TB infections globally by half by 2015 could be undermined by MDT-TB.More

Skill sets for discovery researchers
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Ever wonder what heads of drug discovery laboratories look for when they decide to hire new researchers for their staffs? A number of top discovery scientists who have experience in both industry and/or academia were asked about what they considered to be a good skill set for aspiring drug discovery and development investigators.More

New blood-vessel-generating cell with therapeutic potential discovered
Medical News Today
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, believe they have discovered stem cells that play a decisive role in new blood vessel growth. If researchers learn to isolate and efficiently produce these stem cells found in blood vessel walls, the cells offer new opportunities in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and many other diseases. The study was published in the PLOS Biology journal. More

West Nile virus outbreak now 2nd worst
MedPage Today
The Centers for Disease Control has received reports of 4,531 cases of West Nile virus infection, the second highest total since the virus emerged in the U.S. in 1999 – but this year marks a new high in reports of severe disease. There were 4,269 cases seen in 2006. The highest total remains the 9,862 reported in 2003, although the CDC has called that number an artifact of excessive testing by one state that year. More

New York school's renovated science labs 'amazing'
Gatehouse News Service via Herkimer Telegram
Bonita Gibb hovered over a new microscope examining a piece of cardiac muscle. While the Herkimer County Community College student did not take science classes prior to construction of the $2.8 million laboratory renovation project at the New York school, she is benefiting from the better organized, high-technology equipped, spacious and cheery classrooms at the college. More