ASCLS eNewsBytes
Mar. 26, 2013

This protein could change biotech forever
A tiny molecular machine used by bacteria to kill attacking viruses could change the way that scientists edit the DNA of plants, animals and fungi, revolutionizing genetic engineering. The protein, called Cas9, is quite simply a way to more accurately cut a piece of DNA.More

Meningitis spreading via anonymous sex in New York City
ABC News
New York City health officials are urging some men to get vaccinated against meningitis amid an outbreak that has sickened 22 New Yorkers and killed seven. The dangerous strain of bacterial meningitis appears to be spreading through sexual encounters between men who meet through websites or smartphone apps, or at bars or parties, according to the city's health department.More

Breast cancer study explores therapy to slow recurrence
Vanderbilt University
Many patients with triple-negative breast cancer have recurrence of their disease after an initial response to chemotherapy because the cancer cells have become resistant to treatment. TNBC has a lower survival rate because of this pattern of resistance and there are no targeted agents to treat this form of breast cancer. A new study by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators suggests drugs that block or inhibit the TGF-b signaling pathway in cancer cells enhance the effect of chemotherapy and may prevent recurrences of treatment-resistant TNBC.More

Vial of biological agent missing at Texas lab
Government Security News
A vial of a potentially hazardous virus is missing from the research laboratory of a Texas medical research facility, but officials said there were no security breaches and the virus doesn't pose a great risk to the public. The virus, called Guanito, according to a statement by University of Texas Medical Branch's Galveston National Laboratory, is not known to be transmitted from person-to-person and poses no appreciable public health risk.More

Researchers spot molecular control switch for preterm lung disorders
In a mouse study, a team located key molecules that switch on stress pathways in preterm lung disorders, and also found that when parts of these pathways were blocked with a pain drug, lung damage was prevented or reversed. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is the most common chronic lung disease in premature infants and does not have any specific treatment. More

Stem cell research could expand clinical use of regenerative human cells
Indiana University via Medical Xpress
Research led by a biology professor in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has uncovered a method to produce retinal cells from regenerative human stem cells without the use of animal products, proteins or other foreign substances, which historically have limited the application of stem cells to treat disease and other human developmental disorders. More

'Tiny lab' implanted under skin transmits blood marker levels
Medical News Today
Scientists in Switzerland have developed a "tiny lab" on a chip that when implanted just under the skin can track levels of up to five substances in the blood and transmit the results wirelessly to a smartphone or other receiving device in a "telemedicine" network. They suggest the device could be ready for market in four years and has many potential uses, such as helping doctors monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy.More

Tuberculosis incidence falls for 20th straight year
Medscape Medical News
The number of cases of tuberculosis reported in the United States in 2012 fell for the 20th straight year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roque Miramontes, MPH, and colleagues from the CDC in Atlanta, reported their findings in a recent issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.More

Novel method accurately predicts disease outbreaks
Infection Control Today
A team of scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has developed a novel method to accurately predict dengue fever outbreaks several weeks before they occur. The new method, known as PRedicting Infectious Disease Scalable Model, extracts relationships between clinical, meteorological, climatic and socio-political data in Peru and in the Philippines. It can be used in any geographical region and extended to other environmentally influenced infections affecting public health and military forces worldwide.More

FDA approves imaging drug for cancer lymph nodes
The Associated Press via USA Today
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new imaging drug to help doctors locate lymph nodes in patients with breast cancer and skin cancer. The drug Lymphoseek is a radioactive imaging agent that is intended to help determine if breast cancer or melanoma has spread to a patient's lymph nodes. By surgically removing lymph nodes that drain from a tumor, doctors can sometimes detect if a cancer has spread from its original site.More

Cell on a chip sheds light on protein behavior
Weizmann Institute via Laboratory Equipment
For years, scientists around the world have dreamed of building a complete, functional, artificial cell. Though this vision is still a distant blur on the horizon, many are making progress on various fronts. Professor Roy Bar-Ziv and his research team in the Weizmann Institute's Materials and Interfaces Department recently took a significant step in this direction when they created a two-dimensional, cell-like system on a glass chip. More

Highlighting cancer divide between rich, poor nations
The Boston Globe
Harvard health economist Felicia Knaul had long fought for the interests of poor people in Latin America when a breast cancer diagnosis brought her attention to tremendous global disparities in health care. Knaul, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, wrote about that disparity in a recently published book, "Beauty Without the Breast."More

CDC: Patient killed by rabies from organ transplant
NBC News
Rabies killed a patient who got a kidney transplant more than a year ago, federal officials said. Now they are treating three other people who got a second kidney, a heart and a liver from the same donor — an Air Force recruit who apparently died of undiagonosed rabies.More

Blood test tracks response to cancer treatment
Medical News Today
A blood test that tracks fragments of DNA shed by dying tumor cells could one day be used to monitor how well patients are responding to cancer treatment, according to a small study in women with advanced breast cancer. More

Cervical screening guidelines updated
Medscape Medical News
New cervical screening guidelines posted online recently by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology now address management of discordant co-tests, in which results of either Papanicolaou smear or human papillomavirus testing are positive, but not both. The new algorithms update the 2006 recommendations, based on risk analysis of new data from nearly 1.4 million women in a National Cancer Institute–Kaiser Permanente Northern California cohort.More

New radioactive dye effective in detecting melanoma and breast cancers
University of California via The Medical News
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have shown that a new imaging dye, designed and developed at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, is an effective agent in detecting and mapping cancers that have reached the lymph nodes. The radioactive dye, called Technetium Tc-99m tilmanocept, successfully identified cancerous lymph nodes and did a better job of marking cancers than the current standard dye. Results of the Phase III clinical trial published online today in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.More

Highlighting cancer divide between rich, poor nations
The Boston Globe
Harvard health economist Felicia Knaul had long fought for the interests of poor people in Latin America when a breast cancer diagnosis brought her attention to tremendous global disparities in health care. Knaul, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, spoke about that disparity recently at a Harvard School of Public Health World Cancer Day event, and wrote about it in a recently published book, "Beauty Without the Breast."More

Dual cell approach may bring universal flu shot
University of Pennsylvania via Laboratory Equipment
E. John Wherry, associate professor of Microbiology and director of the Institute for Immunology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues, report in PLOS Pathogens that influenza virus-specific CD8+ T cells or virus-specific non-neutralizing antibodies are each relatively ineffective at conferring protective immunity alone. But when combined, the virus-specific CD8 T cells and non-neutralizing antibodies cooperatively elicit robust protective immunity.More