ASCLS eNewsBytes
Jul. 31, 2012

Study: HIV undetectable in 2 men after bone marrow transplants
Following bone marrow transplants, two men infected with HIV no longer have any traces of the AIDS-causing virus in their lymphocytes, researchers report. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell and are a key part of the immune system. The U.S. researchers suspect that bone marrow transplantation along with continuation of antiretroviral therapy resulted in the dramatic effects evident eight months post-transplant. More

FDA reviews the use of progression-free survival in cancer trials
Medscape Medical News
A faster, less expensive method of verifying progression-free survival data in cancer drug clinical trials is being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But the potential change in methodology is seen as a threat to quality data by a number of experts. The matter was debated at an unusual meeting of the FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee.More

Deadly E. coli strain decoded
Michigan State University
The secret to the deadly 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany has been decoded, thanks to research conducted at Michigan State University. The deadliest E. coli outbreak ever, which caused 54 deaths and sickened more than 3,800 people, was traced to a particularly virulent strain that researchers had never seen in an outbreak before. In the current issue of the academic journal PLoS ONE, a team of researchers led by Shannon Manning, MSU molecular biologist and epidemiologist, suggests a way to potentially tame the killer bacteria.More

Hepatitis outbreak in New Hampshire strikes fear in 7 other states
VideoBriefHospitals in at least eight states want to know how many hundreds or thousands of their patients have come in contact with a lab technician accused of spreading hepatitis C. The man, David Kwiatkowski, has the disease, which can pass through contact with contaminated blood, most often via shared needles. Authorities say the Michigan native injected himself with painkillers meant for patients when he worked at Exeter Hospital and left the syringes for reuse. He was arrested in New Hampshire in connection with spreading the disease at Exeter Hospital and has been charged with obtaining controlled substances by fraud and tampering with a consumer product, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. More

New recruits in the fight against disease
Infection Control Today
Scientists have discovered the structure and operating procedures of a powerful antibacterial killing machine that could become an alternative to antibiotics. In research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, scientists from Monash University, the Rockefeller University and the University of Maryland detail how the bacteriophage lysin, PlyC, kills bacteria that cause infections from sore throats to pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.More

Ugandan officials, international experts tackle Ebola outbreak
that's killed 14

VideoBriefAn outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever that has killed at least 14 people recently in western Uganda initially went undetected because patients did not show typical symptoms, according to the nation's health minister. Patients had fevers and were vomiting, but did not show other typical symptoms, such as hemorrhaging, Health Minister Dr. Christine Ondoa told CNN.More

New study names 40 airports most likely to spread disease
The Disease Daily
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently published a report that used mathematical modeling to identify the U.S. airports that, in the event of an infectious disease outbreak, are most likely to spread disease. The study took into consideration passengers' travel patterns, airport location, interactions between airports and waiting times for travelers.More

Human papillomavirus types do not replace others after large-scale vaccination
Infection Control Today
Vaccines against human papillomavirus are now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for both teenage boys and girls. The vaccine protects against the two most common types of the virus that cause cervical cancer: HPV 16 and 18. Is there a chance that the increased number of people vaccinated might result in an increase of other types of HPV that cause cancer? More

Hot, dry weather heightens West Nile virus risk
ABC News
Where there's water in the drought-plagued Midwest, it's stagnant water — the Culex mosquito's favorite breeding habitat. The heat also speeds up the mosquito's life cycle, which means more breeding and more mosquitoes, and accelerates the West Nile virus replication process. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Texas are reporting higher rates of infected mosquitoes compared with past years. More

Mount Sinai researchers discover new target for vaccine development in abundant immune cells
Science Codex
White blood cells called neutrophils, which are the first line of defense against infection, play an unexpected role by boosting antibody production, according to research led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. The findings suggest neutrophils have multiple roles within the immune system and function at levels previously unknown to the scientific community. More

Stunning recovery for first child to get stem cell trachea
ABC News
The first child in history to receive a trachea fashioned by his own stem cells has shown remarkable progress since the initial transplant two years ago, marking a new record for the novel procedure. Ciaran Finn-Lynch, the now 13-year-old boy from the U.K. who the world's first child to receive the stem cell trachea transplant, is breathing normally and no longer needs anti-rejection medication, researchers reported in a paper published in the journal Lancet. More

Researchers unveil molecular details of how bacteria propagate antibiotic resistance
Infection Control Today
Fighting superbugs – strains of pathogenic bacteria that are impervious to the antibiotics that subdued their predecessor generations – has required physicians to seek new and more powerful drugs for their arsenals. Unfortunately, in time, these treatments also can fall prey to the same microbial ability to become drug resistant. Now, a research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may have found a way to break the cycle that doesn't demand the deployment of a next-generation medical therapy – preventing superbugs from genetically propagating drug resistance.More

Vaccines developed from DNA nanostructures come one step closer to a clinical reality
Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent microbial infection. International vaccination campaigns have played a pivotal role in the eradication of small pox and the imminent eradication of polio. Yet, formulating effective vaccines is more of an art than an exact science. Several widespread and devastating diseases including malaria and HIV are proving difficult to develop vaccines against.More

Study finds scarcity of drug trials in kids
Reuters via Medscape Medical News
Relatively few clinical trials have tested medications in children - even when kids make up a large share of patients with the condition the drug treats, a new study finds. That most clinical drug trials do not include children and teenagers has long been known. In practice, doctors often have to extrapolate findings from adult studies and try to apply them to children - giving kids a lower dose of a drug that's been found effective in adults, for instance.More

Lab-grown blood vessels may improve heart bypass
Researchers have grown small blood vessels in a lab using stem cells from fat gathered through liposuction. Such cultured blood vessels might someday play a role in transplant operations, including heart bypass surgery. In bypass surgery, transplanted blood vessels are used to reroute blood around severely blocked arteries. Current techniques have limitations, however, and these preliminary study results suggest that tissue-engineered blood vessels might help doctors surmount certain hurdles, the researchers said.More

Anti-AIDS focus now on teen girls
The Associated Press via the San Francisco Chronicle
Tackling the female side of the AIDS epidemic means going far beyond today's global focus on pregnant women, specialists told the world's largest AIDS meeting. Already women make up half the world's HIV infections. Adolescent girls are at particular risk in the hardest-hit parts of the world, and protecting them requires addressing the poverty, violence and discrimination that too many women experience around the world, said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta.More