ASCLS eNewsBytes
Oct. 4, 2011

Prominent inherited disease expert Dr. James Bowman dies
Inherited disease expert Dr. James Bowman, who challenged the ethics of genetic screening has died at age 88, the University of Chicago said. Bowman, an internationally recognized African-American pathologist and expert on inherited blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia, died from cancer, the school said.More

Computational modeling can help plan vaccine introduction
Bioscience Technology
Proper planning before the introduction of new vaccines into a developing country's active immunization program could prevent storage problems and transportation bottlenecks that decrease the availability of existing vaccines by as much as two-thirds, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. Computational models can assess the evolving needs of the vaccine supply chain – or the series of steps required to get a vaccine from the manufacturer to the target population.More

Preoperative chlorhexidine wash superior to povidone-iodine
Medscape Medical News
Using chlorhexidine as a preoperative surgical wash cut the risk for a surgical site infection in half, compared with washing with 10 percent povidone-iodine, investigators from the Singapore General Hospital reported at the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Chlorhexidine and povidone-iodine, both used preoperatively to reduce SSIs, have similar spectra of bactericidal activity, but differences in their effectiveness in eradicating microbes have been reported. Investigators, led by pharmacist Yixin Liew, performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of a chlorhexidine bath in reducing the rate of SSIs. More

Survey set to measure impact of trend by urologists and GIs to create their own in-office anatomic pathology laboratories
One trend reshaping the profession of anatomic pathology with surprising speed is the growth of in-clinic pathology laboratories by specialist physicians. As each office-based physician group builds its own in-clinic pathology laboratory, local pathology groups and medical laboratories lose access to the tissue specimens these doctors now process in their own pathology lab. This trend has significant consequences for the nation's 3,300 pathology group practices, as well as those national pathology and clinical laboratory companies that compete for the biopsy tissue referrals of office-based physicians. Losing access to the tissue referrals of local physicians makes it tougher for local pathologists to develop a broad range of experience and skills. More

Scientists develop way to rapidly produce stem cells
Laboratory Equipment
Scientists have found a way to rapidly produce pure populations of cells that grow into the protective myelin coating on nerves in mice. Their process opens a door to research and potential treatments for multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other demyelinating diseases afflicting millions of people worldwide.More

Response to EGFR inhibitors: Are more mutations better?
Medscape Genomic Medicine
Investigators in China examined tumor samples from 100 patients with lung cancer to determine whether the quantity of epidermal growth factor receptor mutations within a lung cancer influences the clinical activity of an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor. All patients had received gefitinib at some point during the course of their disease, either as part of a clinical trial or in clinical practice; the tissue samples retrieved from the tissue bank had been obtained at diagnosis.More

Rare flu-like virus on the rise
Agence France-Presse
A rare virus has killed three people and sickened nearly 100 in Japan, the Philippines, the United States and the Netherlands over the past two years, U.S. health authorities said. The culprit is human enterovirus 68, and its respiratory symptoms can be particularly dangerous to children, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. More

Researchers kill breast cancer cells with virus
QMI Agency via London Free Press
A non-disease-causing virus has been found to kill breast cancer cells in a lab setting, researchers say. The discovery could lead to new cancer therapies. In tissue culture dishes in the laboratory, the virus destroyed 100 percent of the cancer cells within seven days, the researchers found.More

Study: Genomic architecture presages genomic instability
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine who study families with such genomic disorders have found a shared, yet unusual, architecture resulting from this jumble that is associated with very severe forms of disease. They also identified the genomic elements that produce such architecture, a finding that will help predict other unstable regions in the human genome.More

Levels of modified DNA base pairs examined in cells
Johns Hopkins News-Letter
Researchers have found that 5-hydroxymethylcytosine content closely correlates with the differentiation state of cells. Terminally differentiated cells contain the highest levels of 5hmC, while less differentiated stem/progenitor cell compartments exhibit very low levels. In addition, 5hmC levels are significantly reduced in prostate, breast and colon carcinomas as compared to normal tissues, a finding which sheds some light on the characteristics that enable cancer cells to survive.More

Role identified for cancer-related genetic elements in glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
A role for genetic elements previously implicated in cancer progression has been found in the regulation of metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and the development of diabetes. The RNA-binding proteins Lin28a/b have been shown to promote malignancy by inhibiting let-7 biogenesis, but studies in experimental mice have now demonstrated that overexpression of Lin28a or human LIN28B in mice promotes insulin sensitization that makes the animals resistant to developing high fat diet-induced diabetes.More

'Autistic' mice created — and treated
New Scientist
A new strain of mice engineered to lack a gene with links to autism displays many of the hallmarks of the condition. It also responds to a drug in the same way as people with autism, which might open the way to new therapies for such people. It's not the first mouse strain to have symptoms of autism, and previous ones have already been useful models for studying the condition. More

All-access genome: New study explores packaging of DNA
While efforts to unlock the subtleties of DNA have produced remarkable insights into the code of life, researchers still grapple with fundamental questions. For example, the underlying mechanisms by which human genes are turned on and off — generating essential proteins, determining our physical traits, and sometimes causing disease — remain poorly understood.More