ASCLS eNewsBytes
Oct. 1, 2013

High-tech lab in Kazakhstan to fight plague outbreaks
National Geographic
In a dusty suburb near Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the Soviet-era buildings still hint at a different time, a slice of high-tech modernity has arrived — in the form of a $102 million biosecurity laboratory. The Central Reference Laboratory will open in 2015 and offer high-security lab space for scientists to study dangerous diseases and provide early warning of potential outbreaks.More

Free ASCLS webcast! Molecular Profile of Hematologic Malignancies: DNA to Diagnosis — Thursday, Oct. 3
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Broadcast at two times: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT/10 a.m. MT/9 a.m. PT and 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT/6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. PT. No registration required!

Go to for more information.More

Challenging Cases in Hematology — Register for the Oct. 10 ASCLS/APHL webinar
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
This one-hour webinar will utilize a case study format to present challenging and unusual morphologic hematology cases. For more information and to register your site, go to ASCLS members register at a discount with code FDC13. More

Report: HIV infections have fallen by a third since 2001
Bloomberg Businessweek
Worldwide, 2.3 million people were newly infected with the AIDS-causing virus last year, compared with 3.4 million in 2001, the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, wrote in a report. AIDS-related deaths fell 30 percent to 1.6 million last year from the peak in 2005, the Geneva-based agency said.More

More radiation ups OS in early breast cancer
MedPage Today
Women with early breast cancer had better survival when they received radiation therapy to the internal mammary and supraclavicular lymph nodes, long-term follow-up in a European trial showed. The 10-year overall survival was 82.3 percent with nodal irradiation and 80.7 percent without. The difference did not achieve statistical significance, in part, because survival exceeded expectations in the control group.More

Oncologists call for industry-led global fund to fight cancer
The world faces a rapidly growing burden of cancer that will overwhelm governments unless the medical and pharma industry takes the lead on a multi-billion dollar private-public fund, oncologists said. In a report on how rates of cancer diagnosis and death are rising across the world while access to diagnosis and treatment is extremely patchy, experts described the economics of the problem as daunting and current financing models as broken.More

JIA remission is not a return to normal
Medscape Medical News
Gene expression profiling has confirmed what many pediatric arthritis experts have long suspected: Treatment-induced juvenile idiopathic arthritis remission is not the same as restoration of normal immune function. The data confirm that JIA is a disease of disordered gene regulation, not autoimmunity. More

How humankind got ahead of infectious disease
If recent efforts succeed, polio will join smallpox as one of the only human infectious diseases to have been eliminated, entirely. Such a feat involves cooperation, coordination and determination, but it also rests on one crucial development: vaccines, what career immunologist John Rhodes calls "the most successful medical measure of any." More

In cancer drug battle, both sides appeal to ethics
A standoff between a cancer patient and a drug manufacturer raises the question: When should patients get access to experimental drugs? Under "Compassionate Use" or "Expanded Access," the Food and Drug Administration allows an unapproved drug still in development to go to a patient with few alternatives remaining, also absolving the drug maker of liability should the drug not work or cause harm.More

'Facts' of C. diff transmission challenged
MedPage Today
A sophisticated genetic analysis of Clostridium difficile cases is challenging the conventional wisdom that symptomatic patients are responsible for most transmission in hospitals. Whole-genome sequencing of C. difficile isolates from more than 1,200 patients found that only 35% were related to a previous case in a large, four-hospital study, according to David Eyre, of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, and colleagues.More

MERS-CoV: CDC guidance for clinical surveillance, management
Medscape Medical News
In preparation for future cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released recommendations for patient evaluation, case definitions, home care, travel, and infection control. The guidance and a summary of worldwide epidemiologic information were published in a recent issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.More

Specific sugar molecule causes growth of cancer cells
Oncology Nurse Advisor
The process of glycosylation, where sugar molecules are attached to proteins, has long been of interest to scientists, particularly because certain sugar molecules are present in very high numbers in cancer cells. It now turns out that these sugar molecules are not only present in malignant cells but actually aid in their growth. More

Research: Infectious diseases specialists save lives, save money
U.S. researchers say hospitalized patients with severe infections are much less likely to die if they receive care from an infectious diseases specialist. The study, published online, found patients treated by infectious diseases specialists were 9 percent less likely to die in the hospital and 12 percent less likely to die after discharge.More

High-tech lab in Kazakhstan to fight plague outbreaks
National Geographic
In a dusty suburb near Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the Soviet-era buildings still hint at a different time, a slice of high-tech modernity has arrived — in the form of a $102 million biosecurity laboratory.More

New test rapidly distinguishes viral, bacterial infections
Medscape Medical News
A new test that analyzes patients' immune responses, rather than the pathogens themselves, can rapidly distinguish viral infections from bacterial infections, according to an article published in a recent issue of Science Translational Medicine. More

New hope for ovarian cancer
By Dorothy L. Tengler
Despite advances in treatment, ovarian cancer remains a highly lethal disease, mainly because most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the disease is at a late stage. When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective. More

Missing immune response may prove a vital link for new leukemia treatments
University of Birmingham via Medical News Today
Patients suffering from leukemia could have their immune system engineered to fight the disease, after scientists at the University of Birmingham discovered that they lacked an immune response to a certain class of proteins which, could be restored through stem cell transplants.More

Roche immunotherapy drug may be 'game changer' in lung cancer
An experimental Roche drug that seems to work particularly well against lung cancer in smokers may be a "game changer" for these normally difficult-to-treat patients, researchers said. Presenting detailed data from an early stage trial of the drug, called MPDL3280A, in patients with a form of the disease called non-small cell lung cancer, investigators said what they had found was "great news for lung cancer patients."More

Married cancer patients are more likely to survive
USA Today
Scientists say they may have found the key to surviving cancer: marriage. Married people with cancer were 20 percent less likely to die from their disease, compared to people who are separated, divorced, widowed or never married, according to study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.More