ASCLS eNewsBytes
Dec. 23, 2013

Most states letting down guard against infectious disease
Medscape Medical News
The United States has let its guard down against infectious disease, particularly at the state level, where 34 states have a score of 5 or lower on 10 indicators of public health protection, according to a new study published online by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. More

ACC/AHA publish new guideline for management of blood cholesterol
American Heart Association
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association released a new clinical practice guideline for the treatment of blood cholesterol in people at high risk for cardiovascular diseases caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening and narrowing of the arteries, that can lead to heart attack, stroke or death. The guideline identifies four major groups of patients for whom cholesterol-lowering HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, or statins, have the greatest chance of preventing stroke and heart attacks. More

A new gene target for fighting cancer
MIT Technology Review
About half of all cancer patients have a mutation in a gene called p53, which codes for a tumor-suppressing protein that controls cell division. That mutation allows tumors to continue growing even after chemotherapy damages their DNA. A new study from MIT biologists has found that tumor cells with mutated p53 can be made much more vulnerable to chemotherapy by blocking another gene, called MK2. In a study of mice, tumors lacking both p53 and MK2 shrank dramatically when treated with the drug Cisplatin, while tumors with functional MK2 kept growing.More

A blood test that predicts suicide?
By Dorothy L. Tengler
Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death for Americans. In 2010, someone in the United States died by suicide every 13.7 minutes. Alexander Niculescu, a psychiatrist at Indiana University in Indianapolis, has been looking for biological signs of suicide risk in an effort to prevent these tragedies. Because of the brain's complexity and inaccessibility, he has focused on molecular signs, such as biomarkers. Niculescu and colleagues recently identified six such biomarkers in the blood that may identify people at risk of committing suicide.More

'Nanobiopsy' allows scientists to operate on living cells
Imperial College London
Scientists have developed a device that can take a "biopsy" of a living cell, sampling minute volumes of its contents without killing it. Much research on molecular biology is carried out on populations of cells, giving an average result that ignores the fact that every cell is different. Techniques for studying single cells usually destroy them, making it impossible to look at changes over time.More

More evidence that blood transfusions raise thrombosis risk in ACS patients
Medscape Medical News
Many patients hospitalized with acute coronary syndromes receive blood or blood products due to bleeding complications or in response to anemia, yet there is also evidence that transfusions may be an independent risk factor for ischemic events, observe Dr Johanne Silvain and colleagues in a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.More

Cancer and immune cells merge
The Scientist
Macrophages are usually the body's protectors, engulfing pathogens and cleaning up dead cells and debris. But in some cases, cancer cells fuse with these immune cells to possibly become even more harmful, according to a poster presented recently at the American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The researchers demonstrated that macrophages and mouse colon cancer cells spontaneously fuse when cultured together and noted altered growth in the hybrid cells compared to ordinary cancer cells, prompting speculation that hybridization could spur cancer progression.More

North Texas hospital performing groundbreaking breast cancer research
KTVT-TV
VideoBrief Groundbreaking research underway right now in North Texas is helping breast cancer patients avoid mastectomies and make treatment decisions based on fact, not fear. For the past two years, Dr. Peter Beitsch has been leading a major clinical study conducting genetic analysis of breast cancer tumors. The information is then used to design a patient specific treatment plan.More

Exercise can ease pain from breast cancer drugs
USA Today
Supervised exercise may help relieve treatment-related pain among breast cancer patients, a new study finds. The study focused on hormonal therapies called aromatase inhibitors, which certain post-menopausal breast cancer patients take for up to five years after surgery. More

Why do tumors become resistant to chemotherapy?
Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute via Science Codex
A common observation in oncology is the phenomenon that a patient with a tumor receives a drug and responds very well, but after a few months the cancer comes back and is now resistant to previously administered chemotherapy. What happened? More

Hospitals try yogurt to prevent infections in patients
The Wall Street Journal
Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook, Pa., was able to drive down cases of hospital infections after adding a new weapon to its arsenal: probiotics, the small organisms that help maintain the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines.More

Camels harbor MERS virus
MedPage Today
A farm in Qatar might hold the clues that link the emerging Middle East respiratory syndrome to camels. For the first time, the virus has been isolated from a non-human species — camels on a small farm that is also linked to two human cases, according to Marion Koopmans, DVM, Ph.D., of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, and colleagues.More