ASCLS eNewsBytes
Apr. 14, 2015

Stem cells, fecal transplants show promise for Crohn's disease
HealthDay News
Two experimental therapies might help manage the inflammatory bowel disorder Crohn's disease, if this early research pans out. In one study, researchers found that a fecal transplant — stool samples taken from a healthy donor — seemed to send Crohn's symptoms into remission in 7 out of 9 children treated.More

Rapid group A strep test clears FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing clearance for the Alere i Strep A test, the first molecular test that detects group A streptococcus bacteria in throat swab specimens in eight minutes or less, the company said. "The speed and accuracy of the Alere i Strep A test empower healthcare professionals to initiate the right treatment in an actionable timeframe, which is a critical step in reducing unnecessary prescription of antibiotics and enhancing operational efficiency," Avi Pelossof, Alere's global president of infectious disease, said in a news release.More

Clinical laboratories and research organizations are racing to get low-cost, handheld DNA analyzers to market
DARK Daily
Pathologists continue to hear about research efforts to create small devices that can perform DNA analysis. In the past year, four research organizations, including one in the United States, one in New Zealand and two in the U.K., have unveiled several devices that will analyze DNA in the field. This line of research is of particular interest in developing countries where resources such as electricity for refrigeration are scarce. More

False-positive prenatal genetic tests studied
Health Canal
A prenatal blood screen for extra or missing chromosomes in the fetus might give false-positive results if the mother's genome contains more than the usual number of certain DNA segments. This finding is reported April 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article is part of a collection of papers examining screening tests now available to patients due to recent advances in genome sciences. More

Breast cancer genes: How much risk do BRCA mutations bring?
Women with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer, but a woman's exact cancer risk may vary greatly depending on exactly how her gene is mutated or changed from its original form. A new study identifies a number of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that may help doctors provide women with more precise estimates of their cancer risk.More

Review highlights potential of cancer immunotherapy plus targeted therapy
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center via ScienceDaily
The prospect of combining genomically targeted therapies with drugs that free the immune system to attack cancer suggests "we are finally poised to deliver curative therapies to cancer patients," researchers state in a new report that covers the strengths and weaknesses of the two forms of therapy and notes how their combination could be particularly potent.More

HIV immunotherapy treatment shows promise
HealthDay News via CBS News
Therapy with a human antibody appears to reduce levels of the HIV virus in the blood for at least a month, preliminary research suggests. Antibodies are the part of the immune system that develop to fight infections. Use of these antibodies as a treatment is called immunotherapy.More

CDC: Drug-resistant intestinal bug spreading in US
Medical News Today
A group of bacteria called Shigella is responsible for 500,000 cases of diarrhea in the U.S. every year. Now a new report says a multidrug-resistant strain of the bug is entering the country in infected travelers and causing a series of outbreaks. More

Blood test for lung cancer as 1st-line screen before LDCT
The use of low-dose CT as a screening tool for lung cancer has been criticized for its high cost and its feasibility, given the large number of long-time heavy smokers and ex-smokers and the complexity of the process. What if a less expensive and more easily administered test could refine who is at highest risk for lung cancer, and therefore identify the top candidates for low-dose CT?More

New Ebola study points to potential drug target
Washington University in St. Louis via Infection Control Today
Opening the door to potential treatments for the deadly Ebola virus, scientists have found that a protein made by the virus plays a role similar to that of a coat-check attendant. The protein removes a protective coat from the genetic material, exposing the viral genome so that it can be copied, and then returns the coat, according to a new study led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. More