ASCLS eNewsBytes
Dec. 15, 2009

Scientists: Waste product may save lives
The Sydney Morning Herald
Scientists believe the substance left over after donated blood is processed could contain a key to reducing deaths from heart attack. The vital substance is high-density lipoprotein, and CSL's Dr. Samuel Wright says the Australian biopharmaceutical company could recover "a few tonnes" of it from its processes every year. This reconstituted HDL could be injected into the blood streams of people with heart disease, where it would return to its ordinary function of sucking up trapped cholesterol and sending it off for disposal.More

New additive aids blood platelet storage
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
An additive that allows for more efficient storage of blood platelets up to five days has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Platelets — the component that helps blood clot -- are commonly used to prevent or treat bleeding, are given to people having chemotherapy to treat cancer, and are administered to people who don't produce their own platelets, the agency said in a news release.More

Breast cancer hormonal therapy with "issues" is better at higher dose
Medscape Medical News
Clinicians using fulvestrant in breast cancer patients who have progressed to metastatic disease on other hormonal therapies might want to consider a 500 mg dose instead of the currently approved 250 mg dose. New data presented here at the 32nd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) show that the higher dose provided a statistically significantly longer time to disease progression than the 250 mg dose (6.5 vs 5.5 months; P = .006).More

Laboratory jobs open as recession eases
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Clinical laboratory scientists help physicians pinpoint most diagnoses, but many are on the verge of retirement. Minnesota colleges and universities are offering more educational opportunities than ever before for those interested in entering this growing field.More

Bone marrow transplant 'gets rid of' sickle cell anemia
Los Angeles Times
Researchers have for the first time performed a successful bone marrow transplant to cure sickle cell disease in adults, a feat that could expand the procedure to more of the 70,000 Americans with the disease — and possibly some other diseases as well.More

New DNA test could speed time to sepsis diagnosis
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
A new DNA test for sepsis-causing bacteria provides results much sooner than the current gold-standard blood-culture method, a new study shows. Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition caused by the immune system's strong reaction to a serious infection. The sooner sepsis is diagnosed; the sooner infection-specific treatment can begin, leading to improved patient outcomes.More

CDC: 10,000 H1N1 flu deaths
WebMD via Medscape Medical News
H1N1 influenza killed 10,000 Americans, sent 213,000 to the hospital, and sickened 50 million — a sixth of the population — by mid-November, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. The CDC's new estimates reflect a flood of new cases from mid-October to mid-November, as the current wave of the U.S. flu pandemic was climbing to its peak. The numbers represent the middle of a range of estimates made using statistical calculations to correct for underreporting of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.More

Study finds possible explanation for the link between infertility and breast/ovarian cancer risks
Medical News Today
In a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers concluded that mutations in the BRCA1 gene (gene associated with early onset breast cancer) are associated with early diminishment of egg reserve. This finding may, at least in part, explain the link between infertility and breast/ovarian cancer risks.More

Pennsylvania residents in cancer cluster tested for mutation
The Associated Press via Google News
Federal health researchers have tested nearly 2,200 people in northeastern Pennsylvania for a genetic mutation associated with a rare blood cancer. The testing found the mutation in 19 people, or 1.6 percent of those who participated in the study. Scientists don't yet know how prevalent this mutation is in the general population.More