ASCLS eNewsBytes
April 5, 2011

DNA of 50 breast cancer patients decoded
In the single largest cancer genomics investigation reported to date, scientists have sequenced the whole genomes of tumors from 50 breast cancer patients and compared them to the matched DNA of the same patients' healthy cells. This comparison allowed researchers to find mutations that only occurred in the cancer cells.More

New molecular robot can be programmed to follow instructions
Nano Letters via American Chemical Society
Scientists have developed a programmable "molecular robot" — a sub-microscopic molecular machine made of synthetic DNA that moves between track locations separated by 6nm. The robot, a short strand of DNA, follows instructions programmed into a set of fuel molecules determining its destination, for example, to turn left or right at a junction in the track. The report, which represents a step toward futuristic nanomachines and nanofactories, appears in ACS's Nano Letters.More

Pertussis diagnosis: Avoid the pitfalls of PCR
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an important tool for diagnosing pertussis. PCR is a rapid test that detects DNA sequences of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium, and unlike culture, does not require viable bacteria. Despite these advantages, PCR can give inaccurate results. Many common pitfalls of PCR can be avoided by following best practices for who to test, when to test, collection techniques, and preventing contamination.More

An advance toward blood transfusions that require no typing
American Chemical Society
Scientists are reporting an "important step" toward development of a universal blood product that would eliminate the need to "type" blood to match donor and recipient before transfusions. A report on the "immunocamoflage" technique, which hides blood cells from antibodies that could rigger a potentially fatal immune reaction that occurs when blood types do not match, appears in the ACS journal, Biomacromolecules.More

Prices of clinical pathology laboratories are rising due to buyer demand
Dark Daily
For owners and sellers of clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups in the United States, the past six months have been rosy times. That's because buyers have stepped up and paid strong prices for the medical laboratory companies and pathology testing firms that came to market during this time. Experts predict that merger and acquisition activity in the clinical laboratory industry will continue to be robust.More

Laboratory methods for evaluating effectiveness of anti-platelet therapy
Clinical Laboratory News
Research has now shown that atherosclerotic plaques develop over time. When a plaque ruptures, however, it exposes the arterial extracellular matrix and initiates platelet aggregation or atherothrombosis. At the same time, tissue factor produced by macrophage-derived foam cells also initiates the blood system’s coagulation cascade. These events are responsible for clot propagation and can cause clinical disease, ranging from stroke to myocardial infarction.More

Discovery doubles genetic clues to Alzheimer's
Two new reports in Nature Genetics detail the discovery of five new pathways for detecting Alzheimer's disease, the memory-stealing brain illness that is especially prevalent among the elderly. Previous research had identified five genes linked to Alzheimer's disease. The combined efforts of an international consortium of researchers has raised those known genetic markers to 10. More

HIV protein unveils vaccine target
e! Science News
An international study describes how a component of a potential HIV vaccine opens like a flower, undergoing one of the most dramatic protein rearrangements yet observed in nature. The finding could reveal new targets for vaccines to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. A paper describing the work was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More

Imperfections mar hopes for reprogrammed stem cells
When scientists announced 5 years ago they could reprogram ordinary skin cells into behaving like embryonic stem cells, religious conservatives and others who opposed the use of stem cells cheered the advance. But while they have proven to be a powerful new way to study human disease, the reprogrammed cells — known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells — are no substitute for embryonic stem cells.More

Wheal size predicts food allergy resolution in children
The first longitudinal multicenter investigation of milk allergy in children has found that several factors predict resolution of this allergy without intervention. Predictors include smaller wheals on skin prick testing and lower milk immunoglobulin E (IgE) values, according to researchers at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2011 Annual Meeting.More