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Labline is a FREE Weekly MLO Update

December 1, 2011

In This Issue:

arrowLife Technology makes fluorescence microscopy available to all

arrowNew compound is synthesized that defeats drug-resistant bacteria

arrowRoche and Cedars-Sinai form Roche Molecular Center of Excellence

arrowComprehensive screening possible from one drop of blood

arrowAbbott unveils first FDA-approved Chagas blood test

arrowStudy: mammography screening indicated for all women at 40

arrowLink found between depression and heart disease

arrowHot Clips: Regulations/Compliance

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Life Technology makes fluorescence microscopy available to all

Life Technologies Corporation has launched the FLoid™ Cell Imaging Station, a revolutionary platform that eliminates the complexity of fluorescence microscopy, making it accessible to all scientists. A high-quality image can be captured in less than five minutes and printed directly from the platform’s printer or downloaded and e-mailed to serve as supporting documentation for users’ research. At one-third the cost of traditional instrumentation, the new platform is a fully integrated bench-top instrument designed with an intuitive user interface. It enables quick detection and verification of fluorescently labeled cells with just a few mouse clicks, without compromising image quality.

Traditional fluorescent microscopes have historically required considerable time, laboratory space, and expertise. Set-up times have often exceeded 30 minutes, experienced technicians have been needed, and microscopes have had to be placed in darkrooms. The FLoid Cell Imaging Station overcomes all of these barriers via its inherent simplicity and ease of use. Beta testers found that they could capture and process a high-quality, multicolor fluorescent image on the system within five minutes of turning it on. In addition, it includes protocols and reagent selection guides to help users prepare samples prior to imaging. Learn more about the FLoid Cell Imaging Station, and view an image gallery.

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New compound is synthesized that defeats drug-resistant bacteria

Can drug-resistant bacteria be altered so that they become vulnerable to antibiotics once again? Researchers at Brown University say they can. Scientists have synthesized a new compound, called BU-005, that negates the mechanism by which bacteria become resistant, rendering them susceptible to antibiotic therapy. The mechanisms are called drug efflux pumps—proteins in the membranes of bacteria that are able to recognize and expel antibiotics before they have breached the membrane. BU-005, a new compound of C-capped dipeptides, circumvents a family of drug-efflux pumps associated with Gram-positive bacteria. These include MRSA and tuberculosis strains, so the therapeutic applications of the research, published in the journal Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, may be far-reaching.

Prior to the discovery of BU-005, C-capped dipeptides had been known to work only against a family of efflux pumps associated with Gram-negative bacteria. The Brown researchers investigated whether C-capped dipeptides could block the pumps of another drug efflux family, called the major facilitator superfamily (MFS), associated mostly with Gram-positive bacteria. They synthesized a collection of structurally diverse C-capped dipeptides, preparing dozens of different compounds, and assessed each one’s ability to block two efflux pumps in the bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor. From nearly 100 C-capped dipeptides they prepared and tested, they discovered BU-OO5. To learn more about this chapter in the ongoing battle between medical science and bacteria, visit Brown University.

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Roche and Cedars-Sinai form Roche Molecular Center of Excellence

Roche and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles have established a strategic alliance that will enable the center to operate as a Roche Molecular Center of Excellence (MCOE) for the next five years. As a Roche MCOE, the medical center's molecular diagnostics laboratory will be one of the first centers of excellence to offer physicians and patients some of the latest and most advanced molecular technologies, such as Roche's cobas® 4800 BRAF V600 Mutation Test, a companion diagnostic recently approved by the FDA to identify patients who are eligible for treatment with the drug Zelboraf™ (vemurafenib) for inoperable or metastatic melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

Established in 2002, Roche's MCOE program creates an alliance network that enables non-competing regional laboratories across the U.S. to collaborate and capitalize on scientific knowledge in molecular testing and, in turn, help accelerate the advancement of new test methods and technology. For Cedars-Sinai, the MCOE relationship offers a focal point to bring together many existing initiatives related to personalized medicine diagnostics, as well as a newly created Advanced Biorepository and Morphology Translational Core. It also complements the Medical Center's Molecular Genetics Pathology fellowship program, one of only 30 such fellowships offered by the 346 residency programs nationwide. Read in full the media release announcing the initiative.

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Comprehensive screening possible from one drop of blood

Liquid blood samples may become a thing of the past in many clinical applications, due to the work of researchers at King’s College London. They have developed a test that uses a single spot of dried blood to screen patients for both genetic and acquired diseases. Using mass spectometry, the assay analyzes diagnostic peptides and metabolites in the blood. The technique was first developed to screen for inherited metabolic disease, as well as sickle cell, in newborns; it has been expanded for the early detection of kidney disease, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as for monitoring those disorders.

Researchers say the approach is faster, cheaper, and more specific than other methods currently in use to screen the 750,000 babies born annually in the UK for sickle cell, thalassemia, and other hemogobinopathies. It avoids the expense of storing and transporting liquid blood samples. The technique has also been used to enable rapid diagnosis of a wide range of inherited metabolic diseases in children. King’s College London has established a company, SpOTOn Clinical Diagnostics Ltd., to make the new technique available to other clinical labs. To learn more, see the coverage of the story in Medical Xpress.

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Bringing more workflow efficiency to your hematology lab
Designed with the technologist in mind, the UniCel® DxH™ Slidemaker Stainer Coulter® Cellular Analysis System will provide you first-pass, high-quality slides and dependability for maximum uptime. Visit Beckman Coulter.

Abbott unveils first FDA-approved Chagas blood test

Abbott recently received FDA approval for a new Chagas disease in vitro diagnostic test. The ABBOTT ESA Chagas is the first FDA-approved supplemental test that detects antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), the parasite that causes Chagas disease. T.cruzi is found only in the Americas. It is transmitted by insects through contact with the feces of an infected triatomine bug. Infection also occurs congenitally, through transfusions of contaminated blood products, or through organ transplants. If left untreated, Chagas disease develops from an acute to a chronic illness, which may result in death. Chagas disease is endemic throughout much of Mexico, Central America and South America.

The test will be used as an additional, more specific test on human serum or plasma specimens found repeatedly reactive using a licensed screening test. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 11 million people worldwide are infected with Chagas disease, which belongs to a group of neglected tropical diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poor and rural populations. In the United States, more than 300,000 individuals may be infected with Chagas disease. Amid concerns about the transmission of Chagas disease through blood, the FDA mandated donor screening in 2007. The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) Chagas Biovigilance Network reports that nearly 1,500 donors with Chagas disease have been identified since mandatory donor screening was implemented. For more information, including Important Product Usage and Safety Information, see the media release.

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Study: mammography screening indicated for all women at 40

A study presented last month at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America strongly suggests that women 40 years of age and older who have no history of breast cancer in their family are just as likely to develop breast cancer as women with a family history of the disease. In addition, rates of invasive (metastatic) disease were comparable in both groups. According to Stamatia V. Destounis, MD, lead author of the study, the retrospective review, which covers the years 2000-2010, suggests that all women over 40—not just those with a family history—should receive annual screening mammographies.

That recommendation conflicts with the guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2009. The Task Force recommended against routine screening for women in their 40s who had no risk factors. That engendered much controversy at the time, and the conflicting study may reignite the heated debate. CNN has posted a good summary of the study, which was conducted by Dr. Destounis and her colleagues at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care in Rochester, New York.

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Link found between depression and heart disease

According to a new study conducted by Concordia University, people who face the challenge of major clinical depression may also face twice the risk of having a heart attack as those who are not. Published in the journal Psychophysiology, the study consisted of 886 patients, with an average age of 60. Five percent of the study participants were diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. All of the participants underwent a stress test, and afterward the blood pressure and heart rate of each was recorded. The rate of recovery after exercise was measured: how long it took heart rate and BP to return to normal. The recovery rate for the depressed patients was markedly slower. Researchers believe the dysfunctional recovery rate can contribute to increased rate of heart disease.

Researchers say the lesson to be learned for health care professionals dealing with patients with major depression is to be aware of the potential for heart disease, even if there is no clinical presentation of cardiovascular problems. The dysfunctional biological stress system that seems to correlate with clinical depression can be a smoking gun. To learn more, read the news article from The Montreal Gazette.

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HOT CLIPS: Regulations/Compliance - Top Picks

Click on the highlighted links below to discover the top MLO archival properties concerning regulations/compliance, a topic that is now at the forefront of healthcare discussions.

  1. Managing QC and compliance with automated POCT management
  2. CMS ranks labs as "moderate" risk
  3. Regarding EHR rules
  4. Stark and anti-kickback laws limit lab-marketing methods

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