ASCLS eNewsBytes
Jun. 18, 2013

Myriad gene patent ruling triggers race for cancer tests
Companies and a university are moving to offer cheaper and broader genetic testing for breast cancer risk to a growing group of women, following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ended Myriad Genetics Inc.'s monopoly over DNA that vastly raises odds for the disease. Within hours of the decision, the University of Washington and Ambry Genetics, a closely held company in Aliso Viejo, Calif., said they would immediately offer expanded testing that included the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which Myriad has had under patent since the late 1990s. More

FDA warns of cyber threats to medical devices
The FDA is recommending beefed up security on medical devices to reduce the risk that devices are compromised via a cyber threat. Among the issues raised in a Department of Homeland Security warning was that a security researcher demonstrated how an outside actor can shut off or alter the settings of an insulin pump without the user's knowledge. More

Once-a-day pill prevents HIV in drug users
NBC News
A once-a-day pill can protect people who inject drugs such as heroin from the AIDS virus, lowering their risk by nearly 50 percent, researchers reported. The findings show that even people at the highest risk of being infected with the virus can protect themselves — and thus protect others. More

Could urine test replace the mammogram?
Yinfa Ma, Ph.D., Curators' Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri University of Science and Technology, has developed a new screening method that uses a urinalysis to diagnose breast cancer — and determine its severity — even before it can be detected with a mammogram. The clinical trial is ongoing at Mercy Breast Center in Springfield, Mo., and the researchers are actively seeking participants. More

New SARS-like virus: How big is the threat?
Ten years after a severe viral illness emerged in southeast China, no pandemic has emerged, perhaps due to a vigorous public health response, but probably also due to the biology of the virus. Like many similar viruses, its spread was facilitated by crowded living conditions and by the ease of international travel. Its demise is less well understood.More

How to discover an antibiotic: A historian's guide
The Guardian
Given our pressing need for new antibiotics, or a whole new class of antibiotic-like drugs, perhaps we ought to try learning lessons from the history of penicillin.More

Study: Endoscopes still dirty after manual cleaning
Medscape Medical News
In a study that measured the cleanliness of endoscopes used at five hospitals across the United States, 3 of 20 flexible gastrointestinal endoscopes used for screening were found to harbor unacceptable levels of bacteria. The finding was a surprise, lead author Marco Bommarito, Ph.D., from the infection prevention division at 3M, in St. Paul, Minn., said.More

Depression tied to infections, autoimmune disease
MedPage Today
Autoimmune disease and severe infections may increase risk of developing depression and other mood disorders, a population-based study suggested. Any contact with a hospital for autoimmune disease was associated with an independent and significant 45 percent higher risk of a subsequent mood disorder diagnosis, Michael Eriksen Benros, M.D., of Denmark's Aarhus University, and colleagues reported online in JAMA Psychiatry.More

Sensor that detects melanoma via odor developed
Nature World News
Researchers have found a way to detect cancerous cells from healthy skin cells via their odor. The study findings are expected to help doctors diagnose skin cancer early and provide treatments for patients.More

Retractable needle reduces stick injuries
Medscape Medical News
Using a retractable steel needle instead of a resheathable needle decreased the rate of accidental needle-stick injuries by almost half among nurses and phlebotomists at a large hospital in New York City. "We were getting approximately 50 needle sticks a year in our institution because of the cumbersome nature of the device we were using to draw blood," Alexandra Derevnuk, RN, coordinator of infection control and blood and body fluid exposure at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said. "When we switched, this went down to 25 needle sticks per year."More

Stem cell discovery could help regrow fingers
LiveScience via Discovery
Mammals can regenerate the very tips of their fingers and toes after amputation, and now new research shows how stem cells in the nail play a role in that process. A study in mice, detailed online in the journal Nature, reveals the chemical signal that triggers stem cells to develop into new nail tissue, and also attracts nerves that promote nail and bone regeneration.More

Myriad gene patent ruling triggers race for cancer tests
Companies and a university are moving to offer cheaper and broader genetic testing for breast cancer risk to a growing group of women, following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ended Myriad Genetics Inc.'s monopoly over DNA that vastly raises odds for the disease. More

Michael Douglas' throat cancer comments thrust HPV discussion to fore
CBS News
Michael Douglas is drawing worldwide attention. In an interview, he appeared to blame his throat cancer on oral sex and HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. One expert celebrated Douglas' openness about the subject, but questioned his comment's accuracy.More

In clinical trial, scientists hope to train immune system to attack cancer
Stanford University Medical Center via Medical Xpress
Training our immune systems to fight cancer is an appealing prospect. But the process is a bit like learning to spot a single traitor in a stadium full of innocent bystanders. More

Shape of nanoparticles can enhance drug targeting
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute via Laboratory Equipment
Conventional treatments for diseases such as cancer can carry harmful side effects — and the primary reason is that such treatments are not targeted specifically to the cells of the body where they're needed. What if drugs for cancer, cardiovascular disease and other diseases can be targeted specifically and only to cells that need the medicine, and leave normal tissues untouched?More

VU study identifies new mechanism for cancer development
Vanderbilt University via
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center led by a 32-year-old postdoctoral fellow have discovered a new mechanism for the development of cancer that is challenging conventional scientific wisdom. Bhuminder Singh, Ph.D., is first author of a paper describing how "mistrafficking" of a ligand, a protein that binds to the EGF receptor, can "transform" epithelial cells into a particularly vicious tumor in mice.More