ASCLS eNewsBytes
Dec. 6, 2011

Potential clinical utility of gene-expression profiling in identifying tumors of uncertain origin
In approximately 3 to 5 percent of all new cancer cases, the primary site is difficult to diagnose. These cases manifest in a wide variety of clinical presentations, and pathologists and oncologists often cannot reach consensus on the primary site even after an exhaustive evaluation involving a complete review of clinical history, physician examination, complete blood count, urinalysis, serum chemistries, chest radiograph and computed tomography or MRI. Pathological evaluation usually involves an extensive use of immunohistochemistry stains.More

Long-term data reveal statins to be safe, effective
Medscape Education Clinical Briefs
In large randomized trials, use of statins to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by approximately 1 mmol/L is associated with rapid decreases in vascular morbidity and mortality rates by roughly a quarter in a wide range of patients. However, long-term follow-up in observational epidemiologic studies suggests that lower blood cholesterol concentrations are linked to increased rates of certain cancers and to other nonvascular morbidity and mortality.More

Better ovarian cancer screening, still no answers
After disappointing results earlier this year, researchers say new study findings from Kentucky offer a bit of hope for ovarian cancer screening. But they still fall short of answering the important question: does ovarian cancer screening save lives? More

Growing organs in the lab: A potential end to immune rejection
Physicians News Digest
As of November 2011, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, is reporting that over 112,000 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant. At the same time, the average annual expense per patient of immunosuppressive drugs — administered following a transplant to prevent the body from rejecting the new organ — is more than $11,000, and in some cases can reach as high as $25,000. These sobering statistics are driving a campaign within the biomedical research community for innovation.More

Stem cells show promise for repairing damaged hearts
For the first time, stem cells were injected into the hearts of humans who had suffered serious heart damage, and patients improved dramatically. It appears that, as everyone hoped, the stem cells grew into new heart cells to replaced the damaged tissue.More

Fewer biopsies go to pathology labs when gastroenterologists use new miniature microscope
Gastroenterologists are beginning to use what is being called the "world's smallest microscope" to view tissue in situ and diagnose disease. It is a technology innovation that will have important ramifications for the anatomic pathology profession because this new system is designed to allow physicians to microscopically examine a patient's GI tissue at the cellular level in its natural environment. More

Lysosomal storage disorders more common than thought
Medscape Medical News
Lysosomal storage disorders such as Fabry's disease and Pompe's disease are much more common than previously thought, particularly atypical later-onset forms, a new study suggests. A new nationwide study from Austria, using dried blood-spot specimens from newborns, shows a higher-than-expected frequency of mutations for lysosomal storage disorders, mostly those associated with late-onset phenotypes.More

3 trends in high-throughput gene sequencing for pathologists and clinical laboratory managers
Two experts predict that tomorrow's gene sequencing systems may render large swaths of today's clinical laboratory obsolete. Gene sequencing is the hot technology in both the biotech and clinical laboratory testing industries. That is because the cost of rapid gene sequencing systems is falling rapidly, even as the speed and accuracy of these latest-generation gene sequencers improves significantly. More

Living antibiotics from vampire bacteria
Laboratory News
The genome of a vampire-like bacteria that leeches onto other specific bacteria as has its genome sequenced, and revealed its usefulness as a living antibiotic for a range of infectious diseases. More

The challenge of diagnosing pulmonary embolism
Clinical Laboratory News
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a diagnostically challenging condition that carries a high cost if not recognized and treated promptly. Of the estimated 650,000–900,000 individuals with PE in the U.S. each year, as many as 200,000 die from the condition. Even though physicians have a number of tools available to assess patients' risk of PE, accurate diagnosis remains a problem. Among those tools is the D-dimer test, which often is misused and misunderstood as an early rule-out test, leading to further risky, costly, and unnecessary testing and treatments.More

Setting up a standardized peripheral blood mononuclear cells processing laboratory to support multi-center HIV/AIDS vaccine and intervention trials
Despite infrastructure and capacity challenges in Africa, significant development has been made in the number of laboratories supporting immunological and safety studies required for large-scale HIV/AIDS vaccine or intervention trials. In Uganda, cohorts participating in HIV intervention trials are often recruited from rural areas.More

Obama raises US goal on fighting AIDS
President Barack Obama vowed to boost U.S. efforts to fight AIDS with a new target of providing treatment to 6 million people worldwide by 2013, up from an earlier goal of 4 million. More

Spit on your iPhone to diagnose diseases
The iPhone's sensitive touch screen may soon be used to test bodily fluids for disease, as researchers discover ways to use smartphones as diagnostic tools. Users in the near future could collect saliva, blood or urine on an inexpensive, disposable microchip device called a lab on a chip, then send the sample to a lab for analysis. More