ASCLS eNewsBytes
Dec. 2, 2014

New insights into genetic mechanisms common to humans and simpler species may form the basis for new diagnostic tests performed by clinical pathology laboratories
DARK Daily
New discoveries about the interaction of genes and transcription factors in creating different types of RNA will be of interest to pathologists and clinical chemists performing genetic tests and molecular diagnostic assays in their medical laboratories. The goal of this research is to better understand hereditary genetic disease in humans. The new knowledge is based on studies of the common fruit fly, or Drosophila melanogaster, and to a lesser extent a tiny worm Caenorhabditis elegans.More

Current way of detecting gene mutations misses people at high risk of cancer
Research led by a University of Manchester academic on the BRCA gene mutation in the Jewish population shows that the current process of identifying people which relies on assessing someone's family history misses half the people who have the mutation and are at risk of developing cancer. Women carrying a BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation have approximately a 15-45 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer and a 45-65 percent chance of getting breast cancer. More

Ebola vaccine from Glaxo passes early safety test
An experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in all 20 healthy volunteers who received it in an early-stage clinical trial, scientists reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial, which began Sept. 2 and will monitor the volunteers for 48 weeks, is primarily aimed at assessing how safe the vaccine is. But the immune response offered hope that it would also be effective.More

Are we on the road to an HIV vaccine?
"It only takes one virus to get through for a person to be infected," explained Dr. John Mascola. This is true of any viral infection, but in this instance, Mascola is referring to HIV and his ongoing efforts to develop a vaccine against the virus. "It's been so difficult to make an HIV/AIDS vaccine."More

Study: Likely Ebola cases entering UK and US through airport screening
University of Liverpool via Infection Control Today
Researchers at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Infection and Global Health have found that screening for Ebola at airports could be an effective method for preventing the spread of the disease into the U.K. and U.S., but due to the long incubation period of the virus, screening won't detect all cases. Published in The Lancet, the study used a mathematical model to test the probability of infected travelers from West Africa entering the U.K. and U.S.More

Could the key to a good memory be found in our genes?
Medical News Today
Forgetting the name of a recent acquaintance or where you put your keys are common memory slips that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. But for those individuals in middle and later life, such lapses can be troubling — potentially heralding conditions such as Alzheimer's. Now, a new study has identified specific genes that are linked to poorer memory later in life.More

Powdered measles vaccine found to be safe in early clinical trials
Infection Control Today
A measles vaccine made of fine dry powder and delivered with a puff of air triggered no adverse side effects in early human testing, and it is likely effective, according to a paper to be published Nov. 28 in the journal Vaccine. The paper is now available online.More

Medicare price cuts may slow total overall hospital spending growth
DARK Daily
Contrary to the predictions of some analysts, a recent study suggests that slowing Medicare price growth by lowering hospital reimbursements will slow hospital utilization and spending for all age groups. For pathologists and clinical laboratory managers, the study represents credible evidence that cuts in Medicare prices cause a measurable and linked decrease in hospital utilization for both the elderly and the nonelderly. More

Stem cells show potential for treating rare skin disease
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Researchers have taken several steps toward using stem cells to treat a rare genetic disease that leaves people with skin so fragile it blisters at the slightest touch. A trio of lab and animal studies could help pave the way for a clinical trial for the disorder, called epidermolysis bullosa.More

Are we on the verge of a new Ebola like virus outbreak?
Medical News Today
A study published in the journal Nature Communications provides the first scientific evidence that another family of deadly viruses may have "jumped" from fruit bats to humans in Africa, prompting experts to caution that earlier surveillance is needed to prevent another epidemic. The family of viruses in question is known as henipaviruses, which cause rare infections — sometimes harmless, sometimes deadly. Some strains have mortality rates close to 90 percent, which is similar to those for Ebola.More

Revolutionizing genome engineering
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research via ScienceDaily
Genome engineering with the RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas9 system in animals and plants is changing biology. It is easier to use and more efficient than other genetic engineering tools, thus it is already being applied in laboratories all over the world just a few years after its discovery. This rapid adoption and the history of the system are the core topics of a new review paper.More

Direct generation of neural stem cells could enable transplantation therapy
Lab Manager
Induced neural stem cells created from adult cells hold promise for therapeutic transplantation, but their potential in this capacity has been limited by failed efforts to maintain such cells in the desirable multipotent neural stem cell state without continuous expression of the transcription factors used initially to reprogram them. More

Breast cancer vaccine shows promise in small clinical trial
Washington University School of Medicine via Medical Xpress
A breast cancer vaccine developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is safe in patients with metastatic breast cancer, results of an early clinical trial indicate. Preliminary evidence also suggests that the vaccine primed the patients' immune systems to attack tumor cells and helped slow the cancer's progression.More