Under the Microscope
Mar. 6, 2013

Everything illuminated: New method to light up pieces of cancer puzzle
We've learned a lot about cancer, but far from enough. Doctors have gotten better at diagnosing the disease, but they still struggle to pick the right weapon for a patient to fight cancer's aggressive behavior. "Cancer is very complicated and very different from patient to patient," says Michael Gerdes, cancer researcher at GE Global Research in New York. "We really have not done an adequate job matching patients to therapies. We get some patients but we miss a lot." But new breakthroughs in molecular diagnostics are starting to change the picture.More

Geneticists question balance of media coverage of the value of gene sequencing and personalized medicine
Dark Daily
Pathologists and medical laboratory managers will want to stay informed about how genome sequencing data is being translated into clinical applications. There is a vigorous debate unfolding about the ability of personal genome sequencing to reliably predict disease. That is not news to pathologists and clinical laboratory managers. What is a novel twist in the arguments by both sides is whether media coverage has the potential to undermine public support for genomics and personalized medicine. More

New effort to identify Parkinson's biomarkers
Brigham and Women's Hospital via Medical Xpress
Recently, the National Institutes of Health announced a new collaborative initiative that aims to accelerate the search for biomarkers — changes in the body that can be used to predict, diagnose or monitor a disease — in Parkinson's disease, in part by improving collaboration among researchers and helping patients get involved in clinical studies. More

Life Tech gains rights to Harvard's stem cell assays
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Life Technologies signed a research and license agreement with Harvard University under which the firm has acquired exclusive rights to develop a panel of characterization assays designed to rapidly evaluate human pluripotent stem cells for their utility in a variety of discovery and translational research applications. The panel will be offered on the company's semiconductor sequencing and PCR-based genetic analysis platforms. Life Tech expects this will help overcome hurdles that impede stem cell technology from moving into the clinic.More

Histotechnology Professionals Day — March 10
The National Society for Histotechnology sponsors an annual celebration of Histotechnology Professionals through Histotechnology Professionals Day in March each year. Most would agree that the field is not well known among lay people. The society has been working to educate young people about histotechnology as a career option with the annual Career Day program and HPD is another opportunity to increase public awareness and also bring awareness to practitioners of other disciplines in healthcare.More

Update on new federal regulations affecting clinical pathology laboratories
Dark Daily
Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists may be interested to know that, over the fall months, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released three new rules that affect users of health information technology. One rule covers Stage Two of Meaningful Use and includes guidance on how providers should address the need to encrypt patient data. More

Researchers improve NanoVelcro device to better grab cancer cells as blood passes by them
The Medical News
Researchers at UCLA report that they have refined a method they previously developed for capturing and analyzing cancer cells that break away from patients' tumors and circulate in the blood. With the improvements to their device, which uses a Velcro-like nanoscale technology, they can now detect and isolate single cancer cells from patient blood samples for analysis.More

Human-like ears grown from cartilage cells printed on a 3-D printer
The ability to create artificial ears using a special 3-D printer has become an innovation of our time. Cornell bioengineers and Weill Cornell physicians, working together, have successfully produced an artificial ear using an injectable mold created by a 3-D printer from the scan of a child's ear. More

Berkeley lab researchers produce 1st step-by-step look at transcription initiation
Lab Manager Magazine
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have achieved a major advance in understanding how genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA by providing the first step-by-step look at the biomolecular machinery that reads the human genome. "We've provided a series of snapshots that shows how the genome is read one gene at a time," says biophysicist Eva Nogales who led this research. More

How cells optimize the functioning of their power plants
University of Geneva via PhysOrg
Mitochondria, which are probably derived from distant bacterial ancestors incorporated into our cells, have their own DNA. However, we know little about how these organelles, which convert oxygen and consumed nutrients into energy, regulate the expression of their own genes.More