ASCLS eNewsBytes
May. 28, 2013

Vitamin C kills drug-resistant TB in lab tests
BBC News
Vitamin C can kill multidrug-resistant TB in the lab, scientists have found. The surprise discovery may point to a new way of tackling this increasingly hard-to-treat infection, the U.S. study authors from Yeshiva University say in Nature Communications. More

WHO warns countries not to hoard secrets of coronavirus
The World Health Organization warned countries with possible cases of the SARS-like novel coronavirus that they must share information and not allow commercial labs to profit from the virus, which has killed 22 people worldwide. Saudi Arabia, where the first case occurred, has said the development of diagnostic tests for the disease has been delayed by a foreign laboratory's patent rights on the SARS-like virus.More

Infectious disease specialists: Solving mysteries, tackling new challenges
Medscape Medical News
A relatively small medical discipline merely 30 years ago, infectious diseases has emerged as one of today's most vital medical specialties. Success stories in the prevention and treatment of ID abound. Diseases that used to have huge morbidity and mortality rates, such as polio, measles, mumps, and rubella, have been significantly curtailed. More

Whole-genome scanning reveals mutations in melanoma DNA 'dark matter,' may offer new source for clinical pathology laboratory tests
Dark Daily
Whole-genome scanning of cancer cells revealed significant mutations in the “dark matter” areas of melanoma DNA. This represents a leap forward in the basic science of cancer. Easier access to whole-genome sequencing means that researchers are poised to mine a rich vein of data that will shine a light on how cells malfunction. More

Rare gene variants have little effect on autoimmune disease
Medscape Medical News
Six autoimmune diseases result from complex interactions of many small-effect, common gene variants, rather than large effects from rare variants, according to results from a study published online in Nature. Heritability is the proportion of variability among individuals who share a phenotype that is caused by genetics. Unknown gene variants contributing to a phenotype are said to account for the "missing heritability."More

Labs fail to detect cases of bacterial food contamination
Foodborne illnesses are a continuing problem in the U.S., but labs that are supposed to detect the presence of pathogens aren’t up to snuff, according to a new report. The analysis, presented at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, revealed worrisome gaps in the ability of food laboratories to detect or rule out the presence of common disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter.More

Alabama mystery illness determined to be flu, cold or pneumonia
CBS News
Seven Alabama residents sickened by a mysterious illness that resulted in two deaths actually had cases of the flu, a cold virus or pneumonia, state health officials announced. State and local authorities had been conducting laboratory tests from samples taken from the seven patients in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lab samples revealed a combination of influenza A, rhinovirus (the virus associated with the common cold) and bacterial pneumoniaMore

Cheap, fast, accurate home colon cancer test joins growing list of diagnostic tests shifting from medical laboratories to homes
Dark Daily
Because screening for colon cancer represents a potentially huge number of medical laboratory tests each year, many biotech companies are racing to develop reliable test kits that patients can use at home. But to be successful, the test kit must be cheap, easy for a consumer to use and produce clinically useful results.More

When it comes to deadly viruses, what's in a name?
For a pathogen with such a short history, the mysterious new virus killing people in the Middle East and Europe has already had an amazing array of names. While the World Health Organization says the virus and the severe infections and deaths it has caused are "alarming" and need to be tracked, none of its names is especially helpful.More

Research highlights promising strategy to help vaccines outsmart HIV
Oregon Health & Science University via RedOrbit
A new discovery at Oregon Health & Science University highlights an ingenious method to ensure the body effectively reacts when infected with the highly evasive HIV virus that causes AIDS. The same team of researchers has been utilizing this unique approach to develop its own HIV vaccine candidate, which has so far shown promising results in animal studies.More

Vitamin C kills drug-resistant TB in lab tests
BBC News
Vitamin C can kill multidrug-resistant TB in the lab, scientists have found. The surprise discovery may point to a new way of tackling this increasingly hard-to-treat infection, the U.S. study authors from Yeshiva University say in Nature Communications. More

Will cheaper HPV shots be the difference between life and death?
Care 2
It is hoped that a dramatic and historic price cut on leading HPV vaccines will help immunize millions more young women in developing countries and combat cervical cancer rates, but is this change one that should be praised or rallied against as not having gone far enough?More

Cancer risk gene testing announced
BBC News
A pioneering program to test cancer patients for nearly 100 risk genes is to start in London and could represent the future of treatment in the NHS. The results will be used to pick targeted drugs or decide how much of the tissue around a tumour to remove. More

Who updates guidelines for labs dealing with influenza A virus?
Scientist Live
Highly pathogenic avian influenza caused by certain subtypes of influenza A virus in animal populations, particularly chickens, poses a continuing global human public health risk. Direct human infection by an avian influenza A virus was first recognized during the 1997 outbreak in Hong Kong special administrative region of China. Subsequently, human infections with avian strains of the H9 and H7 subtypes have been further documented. More

Neuroscience's future: Mice with human brain cells
Scientific American via Salon
Into brains of newborn mice, researchers implanted human "progenitor cells." These mature into a type of brain cell called astrocytes. They grew into human astrocytes, crowding out mouse astrocytes. The mouse brains became chimeras of human and mouse, with the workhorse mouse brain cells — neurons — nurtured by billions of human astrocytes.More

Caltech biologists show that microRNA-146a protects stem cells during inflammation
The Medical News
When infections occur in the body, stem cells in the blood often jump into action by multiplying and differentiating into mature immune cells that can fight off illness. But repeated infections and inflammation can deplete these cell populations, potentially leading to the development of serious blood conditions such as cancer. Now, a team of researchers led by biologists at the California Institute of Technology has found that, in mouse models, the molecule microRNA-146a acts as a critical regulator and protector of blood-forming stem cells during chronic inflammation.More