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ASCLS eNewsBytes
October 13, 2009
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Health bill gives some groups a break
from USA Today
Hospitals, coal miners and clinical labs are among the special interests that have won exemptions from taxes and other cost-cutting measures in a health care plan crafted by the Senate Finance Committee. A $750 million annual tax on clinical labs such as Quest Diagnostics was dropped after trade groups, including the American Clinical Laboratory Association, objected.  More
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Beckman Coulter

Interim guidance for influenza surveillance: Prioritizing RT-PCR testing in laboratories
from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Laboratory Outreach and Communication System is providing interim guidance for state and local health departments, hospitals, and clinicians participating in surveillance activities regarding which patients to prioritize for testing by RT-PCR for influenza surveillance. Based on the continuing spread of 2009 H1N1 virus since the spring and continuing into the fall and increased demand for influenza testing, these guidelines have been developed in an effort to prioritize patients for testing by RT-PCR for influenza for surveillance purposes.  More
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3-D structure of human genome: Fractal globule architecture packs two meters of DNA into each cell
from Science Daily
Scientists have deciphered the three-dimensional structure of the human genome, paving the way for new insights into genomic function and expanding our understanding of how cellular DNA folds at scales that dwarf the double helix.  More
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Interim recommendations for clinical use of influenza diagnostic testing during the 2009-10 influenza season
from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Laboratory Outreach and Communication System is providing links to "Interim Recommendations for Clinical Use of Influenza Diagnostic Testing During the 2009-10 Influenza Season" and to testing-related Q & A documents for both health care providers and the public. Although the recommendations are intended to inform clinician testing decisions, it is important for laboratorians to be aware of testing-related information directed to clinical partners. Laboratories may also find the testing-related Q & A documents beneficial in responding to questions from clinical partners and from patients.  More
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Hemoglobinopathies and thalassemias
from Clinical Laboratory News
Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells, is made up of a non-protein heme group and four globular protein subunits, called globins. Defects in these protein subunits cause a variety of disorders known as hemoglobinopathies and thalassemias that produce various degrees of anemia, morbidity, and even mortality. The underlying causes of the two types of inherited disorders, however, are quite distinct.  More
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Equitech

FDA alert: New USP standards for heparin products will result in decreased potency
from U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted health care professionals to a change in heparin manufacturing that is expected to decrease the potency of the common anti-clotting drug. To ensure the quality of heparin and to guard against potential contamination, the United States Pharmacopeia, a nonprofit standards-setting organization, adopted new manufacturing controls for heparin. These changes include a modification of the reference standard for the drug’s unit dose.  More
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Researchers take another stem cell step
from Reuters
Researchers trying to figure out a safe way to turn an ordinary skin cell into a powerful stem cell treatment said they took another big step, using one chemical to partly transform the cells.  More
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KLF genes identified as major regulators of axon regeneration in central nervous system
from Medscape Medical News
Scientists with interests in optic nerve regeneration and spinal cord injury have identified a family of genes that suppress or enhance axon growth. Reported online in Science, the new discovery may open new avenues for restoring regenerative capacity to mature neurons. Neural processes in the central nervous system grow and develop during embryonic life, but their ability to grow decreases quickly after birth.  More
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Applied NeuroSolutions udates pomising results for a blood-based test for Alzheimer's disease
from Medical News Today
Applied NeuroSolutions, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of products for the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease, confirmed that it has achieved sufficient analytical sensitivity to detect tau in serum patient samples. This is a key step in the development of a blood-based test to detect AD at an early stage.  More
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StatSpin® CytoFuge 12
The NEW StatSpin® CytoFuge 12 is a compact, low cost cytocentrifuge that concentrates 12 samples from 50 µL up to 800 µL onto microscope slides for a variety of cell preparations. Inside is a removable sealed autoclavable rotor that can be loaded in a hood to eliminate exposure to biohazards. The program key pad is easy to use; up to 24 programs can be stored. The unit operates from 200-2,000 rpm. More info

Frozen assets: Decades-old frozen infant stool samples provide clues to norovirus evolution
from Science Daily
A search through decades-old frozen infant stool samples has yielded rich dividends for scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The team customized a laboratory technique to screen thousands of samples for norovirus, a major cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in people of all ages. What they discovered about the rate of evolution of a specific group of noroviruses could help researchers develop specific antiviral drugs and, potentially, a vaccine against a disease that is very unpleasant and sometimes deadly.  More
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Anti-EGFR agents detrimental in colorectal cancer patients with KRAS mutation
from Medscape Medical News
For the second time in a major clinical study, patients with colorectal cancer whose tumors contain the mutant form of the KRAS gene have shown negative outcomes when treated with an antiepidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). It is already well established that only patients with wild-type KRAS tumors benefit from treatment with an anti-EGFR agent and that patients with KRAS mutations do not.   More
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