Pathology Today
Dec. 10, 2014

Study spotlights high prices of medical lab tests charged by California hospitals
Dark Daily
Clinical laboratories owned by hospitals and health systems should take note of a public study of hospital laboratory test prices that was conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco. It was published this summer and showed a remarkable range of prices for medical laboratory tests charged by California hospitals. How about a charge of $10,169 for a routine blood cholesterol test? This was one finding a study discussed in the August 2014 issue of the British Medical Journal Open blog. More

Blood, simpler
The New Yorker
Elizabeth Holmes , who is 30, is the C.E.O. of Theranos, a Silicon Valley company that is working to upend the lucrative business of blood testing. Blood analysis is integral to medicine. When your physician wants to check some aspect of your health, such as your cholesterol or glucose levels, or look for indications of kidney or liver problems, a blood test is often required. This typically involves a long needle and several blood-filled vials, which are sent to a lab for analysis. Altogether, diagnostic lab testing, including testing done by the two dominant lab companies, Quest and Laboratory Corporation of America, generates seventy-five billion dollars a year in revenue.More

Genetic screening saved this baby's life
Genetic screening, especially whole-genome screening in which people can learn about their possible risk for certain diseases, remains controversial, since the information is neither definitive nor always accurate. In most cases, genes can only predict, with a limited amount of certainty, whether a disease such as breast cancer or Alzheimer's looms in a person's future. As the Food and Drug Administration contemplates the merits and efficacy of such screening, some doctors and researchers are using it with great success, according to a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. More

Mayo seeks to dominate with data
Minneapolis Star Tribune
For decades, doctors, pharmacies and insurance companies have routinely collected vast troves of information about the care and well-being of millions of Americans for their own use. Now, aided by technology and driven by unrelenting pressure to reduce costs, the industry is scrambling to connect all of this disparate data in hopes of finding the best ways to treat the sick. More

Rutgers researcher receives NIH grant to develop rapid test to diagnose Ebola
News Medical
Rutgers researcher David Alland, working with the California biotechnology company Cepheid, has received a grant of nearly $640,000 from the National Institutes of Health to develop a rapid test to diagnose Ebola as well as other viruses that can cause symptoms similar to Ebola. Alland, a professor of medicine and associate dean for clinical research at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the principal investigator of the project, says health workers would be able to take the test to small villages and other remote locations where the spread of Ebola has been especially rampant and diagnose patients where they live.More

BlackBerry, NantHealth launch cancer genome browser
BlackBerry Ltd and NantHealth, a healthcare-focused data provider, launched a secure cancer genome browser, giving doctors the ability to access patients' genetic data on the BlackBerry Passport smartphone.More

Transcriptic will do free lab work for Y Combinator's biotech startups
Young biotech startups accepted into Y Combinator's latest batch are going to get a leg up on research thanks to a partnership between YC and one of the batch's older startups. Founded three years ago, Transcriptic provides automated lab work to 60 organizations (both private and in academia). It's raised about $6 million so far, allowing the team to grow to 18 members, including specialists in hardware and software, as well as the actual task of running tests in a lab environment.More

Lab work moves more quickly to clinical setting
MedPage Today
A second investigational drug in the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) inhibitor class has demonstrated activity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a small clinical study showed. Seven of 14 patients with relapsed or refractory AML had objective responses to treatment with AG-120, an orally available inhibitor of IDH1. The clinical activity included four complete responses.More

Insights into genetic mechanisms common to humans may form the basis for diagnostic tests performed by clinical pathology labs
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. More

HDL says study shows its testing reduced heart attack risk
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Virginia-based Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. announced some details of a study showing that its model of extensive blood-testing and patient counseling produces better overall health outcomes. The company, which has faced scrutiny in recent months for some of its former business practices, said the research showed a "striking" 41 percent decrease in the incidence of heart attacks and "significantly lower occurrence of diabetes complications" in a large group of patients who used its services.More