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    www.mlo-online.com March 2011     
Programmable Temperature controlled FISH Processing System

The StatSpin Thermobrite® automates the denaturation and hybridization steps in slide-based fluorescent in situ hybridization (F)ISH assays and reduces hands-on time while ensuring precision and +/- 1° accuracy.
Learn more: http://www.statspin.com/products_us/Thermobrite.php

NEW! Scleroderma underdiagnosed with commercial screening method
Research from Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) in Washington, DC, suggests that up to 40% of scleroderma patients may not be correctly diagnosed with the disorder using a new automated commercial screening test. The American College of Rheumatology recommends immunofluorescence antinuclear antibody (IF-ANA) testing to help detect the presence of scleroderma-specific antinuclear antibodies. Many commercial labs have, however, adopted a newer, automated method that use non-immunofluorescence antinuclear antibody testing known as NEW ANA. GUMC researchers evaluated test results performed through commercial laboratories and found that as many as 40% of scleroderma patients would have tested negative using the new commercial testing method. Researchers note physicians who suspect scleroderma should order the immunofluorescent ANA. Learn more here.


Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science
The University of Cincinnati’s NAACLS* accredited Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science is designed for working Laboratory Technicians like you. The program is 100% online, with no required campus visits, and you can graduate in just over 2 years.
Download your free brochure today!

NEW! Womack Army Medical Center gets remote support
Roche has received approval from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to provide remote service and support for its lab analyzers at Womack Army Medical Center through the DOD's secure B2B gateway. Roche is the first in vitro diagnostics manufacturer to be approved by the DOD for this remote access. The B2B gateway is a highly secure portal that enables external vendors to access systems within the DOD's data network. The remote access will enable Roche to more easily monitor system status, download system upgrades and calibration information, and provide remote help desk support.


IPSOGEN's BCR-ABL Mbcr IS-MMR Kits*:
Standardize your results on the International Scale!


Learn more or contact us at infos-us@ipsogen.com.

* For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

NEW! Mayo Clinic offers phlebotomy conference
“Phlebotomy 2011: Innovations in Quality, Service and Patient Care,” takes place October 6-7, at the Kahler Grand Hotel, Rochester, MN. This two-day conference for phlebotomists, phlebotomy educators, and management staff provides insight into the importance of providing quality service to customers and ensuring a quality management system is put into practice and maintained. Learn more here.


Zido® Phlebotomy Carts

Carry your phlebotomy supplies on a compact, easy-to-steer cart. Anthro makes your labs flexible with strong, mobile laboratory furniture. Contact Anthro at 800.325.3841 or visit
www.anthro.com/labs.

NEW! “Find it First” campaign supports colon-cancer screening
The recently launched the “Find it First” campaign, sponsored by Olympus, addresses the importance of early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) by encouraging at-risk individuals to commit to be screened for the disease. For each visitor making the commitment to be screened for colon cancer at www.finditfirst.com, Olympus will donate one dollar (up to $50,000) to the Colon Cancer Alliance and the Colorectal Cancer Coalition. Both FinditFirst.com and CRCawareness.com provide information about the latest colon-cancer research, screening options, patient stories, risk assessments, and other medical resources.


NEW! Cancer network guidelines include serum-free light chain assay
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has published updates to the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Multiple Myeloma. In the updated guidelines, the serum-free light chain assay is now included as a part of the initial diagnostic work-up. Previously, it was included under tests that may be useful under some circumstances. Freelite assays by Binding Site measure free kappa and free lambda immunoglobulin light chains in serum. For more information, visit www.thebindingsite.com.


NEW! FDA OKs oral-fluid drugs-of-abuse assays
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted OraSure Technologies and Roche 510(k) clearance on four homogeneous fully automated oral-fluid drugs-of-abuse assays, which include phencyclidine (PCP), cocaine, opiates, and methamphetamine. These assays are designed to run on various clinical chemistry automated analyzers, which are intended to allow oral fluid samples to be processed with the same efficiency as current fully automated urine-based drug tests. The companies anticipate the first four assays to be available for sale later this year.


NEW! Diagnostic-industry news blog goes online
Randox has launched Lab Tests Blog as a resource for laboratory professionals to learn more about new innovations, current research, and industry news within laboratory diagnostics. The blog will provide constant updates on industry news about drug-residue testing, toxicology, veterinary care, the pharmaceutical industry, and more. Visit www.labtestsblog.com.


NEW! Seminars on the importance of pure water
Thermo Fisher Scientific offers two free, interactive seminars to educate researchers and clinical scientists on how to use ultrapure water to ensure reproducible results. “Pure Water 101” provides a comprehensive overview of water-purification techniques, including how pure water is defined, which contaminants are issues for which applications. “Care and Feeding” details easy maintenance steps scientists can take to be sure their pure water system is producing the highest-quality lab water available. The seminars include presentations, product demonstrations, and open discussion. Visit www.thermoscientific.com/waterseminar.


NEW! Free webinar: Procalcitonin in pediatrics
Sepsis is a serious threat to pediatric patients, with more than 42,000 cases in children annually in the United States. Clinical diagnosis of sepsis, however, remains challenging. Paul Bakerman, MD, clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, clinical care pediatrician at Children's Hospital, in Phoenix, AZ, will discuss the challenge of sepsis, the characteristics of Procalcitonin (PCT) as a relevant biomarker, and current PCT utilization with pediatric and neonatal patients in the webinar Procalcitonin in Pediatrics, March 31, 4:00 p.m. ET. Webinar attendance is free of charge. Visit https://procalcitonin-testing.ilinc.com/perl/ilinc/lms/register.pl?activity_id=myvpsph&user_id.


Patient Safety Awareness Week
The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) will hold its annual education and awareness campaign for healthcare safety from March 6-12, 2011. Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW) offers a tool kit, and access to supplemental materials and resources contributed exclusively to NPSF in honor of PSAW. Go to www.npsf.org/hp/psaw for more information.


HOT CLIPS: URINALYSIS & DRUGS OF ABUSE TESTING
Readers often remark that they love to “clip” various items from the print pages of MLO. And because MLO covers a myriad of laboratory-related topics, we share a continuing LABline feature: Hot Clips. Click on the highlighted words to discover various MLO archival properties concerning URINALYSIS & DRUGS OF ABUSE TESTING. Readers also may want to scan MLO’s archives at www.mlo-online.com for more information on this topic.

  • In “Automated urinalysis technology improves efficiency and patient care,” Mike Cronin explains that automated urinalysis allows clinical labs to begin implementing a LEAN laboratory concept, similarly used in manufacturing and testing of products.
  • Carl Trippiedi wrote “Automation offers urinalysis upgrades” in which he asks why, if the progress of automated sample analysis by various clinical laboratory disciplines, has been remarkable has microscopic urine analysis lagged so far behind?
  • In “Urine cultures: contaminates, flora, or the real thing?MLO’s “mad med-lab tech” discusses the fact that urine specimens have got to be one of the hardest cultures to sort out. There are so many variables that make it nearly impossible to set etched-in-stone standards for all specimens, regardless of all the complicated algorithms available.
  • Quality improvements in the preanalytical phase: Focus on urine specimen workflow” examines the fact that advances in urine testing and the fact that urinalysis remains one of the three major in vitro diagnostic-screening tests — after serum chemistry profiles and complete blood counts — create the need to take a look at the urine testing workflow and underscore the importance of reducing preanalytical variability.
  • In “Adulterants and drugs-of-abuse testing,,” Amitava Dasgupta discusses the two categories of products that are commercially available in order to “beat” drug tests.
  • False-positive DOA results due to prescription medications” reviews over-the-counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, or other sympathomimetic amines that interfere with screening tests for amphetamines — but do not cause positive test results in the gas chromatography/mass spectrometric confirmation.

Validation of new assay for bacterial detection of RDPs
The pan genera detection (PGD) assay received 501(k) clearance from the FDA for bacterial detection in both apheresis and random donor platelets in 2007. The PGD technology detects the presence of conserved antigens lipotechoic acid (LTA) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on Gram-positive (GP) and Gram-negative (GN) bacteria, respectively. Read the entire article here.


CLSI revises waste-management guideline
The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) recently published a revised document, Clinical Laboratory Waste Management; Approved Guideline-Third Edition (GP05-A3), with an emphasis on methods for avoiding waste generation (source reduction), and for reducing the volume and toxicity of unavoidable wastes (waste minimization). The document provides information on all types of waste generated by the laboratory (e.g., chemical, infectious, radioactive, sharps, multihazardous, and other solid waste). It also includes sections on waste-management planning, pollution prevention, waste minimization, recycling, and staff education. Go to www.clsi.org.


Healthcare workers more likely to get flu vaccine at work
Certain strategies, such as offering the flu vaccine at work, can improve immunization rates among healthcare workers, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey. In an online survey of 1,714 self-identified healthcare workers from a variety of settings, two-thirds of healthcare workers reported they were offered worksite vaccination. Investigators found that those offered the flu vaccine at work were almost 30% more likely to get the seasonal flu vaccine and 15% more likely to get the pandemic vaccine. About 10% of the respondents were subject to a vaccination requirement, either with or without penalties for noncompliance. Read the Feb. 18 Vaccine report for more information.


TB outbreaks linked to substance abuse
A review of recent tuberculosis (TB) outbreaks in the United States showed substance abuse to be a leading factor in disease spread, along with misdiagnosis and inability to do a full contact investigation, according to a study released Feb. 16 in Emerging Infectious Diseases. CDC investigators identified 27 outbreaks from 2002 through 2008 that included at least three cases linked by genotype and epidemiology. Twenty-four of the 27 outbreaks involved U.S.-born patients, and 17 were linked to a drug house. In addition, 58% of the patients involved in the outbreaks reported substance abuse. Read more here.


Government may pay for STD tests for elderly
Health officials are considering including tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like syphilis and hepatitis B for the elderly covered under Medicare. The national health-insurance program, which already pays for HIV tests, is considering adding the additional STD exams as part of an initiative to cover more preventive care. Read more here.


Norovirus test gets FDA approval
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Feb. 23 that R-Biopharm AG may market the Ridascreen Norovirus third-generation EIA assay for the preliminary identification of norovirus in the United States. The assay is used for testing a number of people who simultaneously have contracted gastroenteritis and where there is a clear avenue for virus transmission such as a shared location or food. Learn more here.


Spinal fluid may hold clues to Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome
An analysis of proteins in spinal fluid can help distinguish patients with Lyme disease from those with chronic fatigue syndrome, a new study found. According to a Feb. 23 HealthDay News report, it appears that both diseases, which can cause similar symptoms, involve the central nervous system, and protein abnormalities in the central nervous system are causes and/or effects of both conditions, according to the research team. Read more here.


Gene test for prostate cancer could prevent overtreatment
Researchers are looking into whether the ability to characterize the tumors of prostate-cancer patients according to their genetic fingerprint can help determine when a man needs immediate treatment for prostate cancer and when he can take the watchful waiting approach. Using a version of the OncoType DX test, which is used to help determine if colon cancer will recur and how some breast cancers are treated, researchers have discovered that men who had the highest levels cell-cycle progression (CCP) genes were nearly at a three times higher chance of developing a fatal form of prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest levels of CCP genes.


Molecular sequencing test traces sources of Salmonella outbreak
FDA scientists successfully used a new genome sequencing test to examine retrospectively a Salmonella outbreak that that sickened nearly 300 people in 44 states and the District of Columbia in 2010. Field investigators collected samples of the suspect product to find the source of the contamination, but conventional laboratory-testing methods could not distinguish between the outbreak and previous Salmonella contamination events. FDA analysts then used next-generation sequencing (NGS) to test samples. NGS test results showed a common origin of the outbreak strain (a single food facility) and a single source (a spiced meat rub). Read more here.


Training Top 125 award goes to SCC
SCC Soft Computer (SCC) was selected by Training magazine for the ninth time in 10 years for a workforce training and development award. SCC placed in the Top 10 for the fourth consecutive year with a ranking of fourth overall. The Training Top 125 is considered an elite ranking among Fortune 500 companies for workforce training and leadership development. SCC is the first healthcare information technology company to rank in the Top 10 for four consecutive years, as well as the first healthcare IT company to ever rank in the Training Top 5. To see a complete list, visit www.trainingmag.com.



INTERNATIONAL NEWS


Vitamin D tests climb in Calgary
The number of blood tests for vitamin D ordered by doctors in the Calgary area has gone from fewer than 20,000 in 2007 to more than 160,000 in 2010, reports CBC News. In 2010, nearly $2 million was spent on vitamin D testing in the province. In March 2010, a Statistics Canada report suggested more than a million Canadians face potentially serious health problems due to low vitamin D levels. Read more here.


HIV/AIDS prevalent in areas of China
China warned Wednesday of the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in some areas, saying the situation in the country was still grim and calling for better prevention and treatment of the disease. According to Chinese authorities, at least 740,000 people have HIV/AIDS in the country, out of a total population of 1.3 billion, although it is believed the real figure could be much higher. Authorities call for the disease to be brought under full control by 2020.


Indonesia aims to increase safety of blood supply
In January 2011, the Indonesian Red Cross (IRC) announced that it would increase the safety of its blood supply by expanding its use of highly sensitive NAT testing for HIV and hepatitis at 15 new centralized blood-testing laboratories. The IRC selected Novartis Diagnostics as its partner, and will use the fully integrated and automated Procleix Tigris system and the Procleix Ultrio assay, which screens for HIV-1, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C in a single assay. Indonesia joins a growing list of countries that are reducing the risk of infection from donated blood through the use of NAT technologies.


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STUDENT NEWS

SBB exam review course
Offered online through George Washington University, the Specialist in Blood Banking (SBB) Examination Review is a self-paced preparation course. Through presentations, case studies, and instructor interaction, the course will assist students in preparing for the ASCP-BOC SBB certification exam. Participants will build professional knowledge in all areas of blood banking and identify personal strengths and weaknesses in the profession. The application deadline is June 1, and the course begins June 15. Go to www.gwumc.edu/healthsci/programs/cls_sbb/welcome.cfm.

ESA student paper competition
The Education Scientific Assembly (ESA) of ASCLS announces the competition for CLS/CLT student research papers and case studies. Student research papers should address scientific as well as applicable educational, technical, administrative, consulting, and management studies. Case studies should address any unusual, interesting, and unique manifestation of a disease etiology, pathology, clinical syndrome, complications and prognosis known or unknown. Learn more at www.ascls.org/leadership/awards/studentpaper.asp.

TO VIEW AN UPDATED LIST OF UPCOMING CONFERENCES, MEETINGS, EVENTS, AND WEBINARS, CLICK HERE.

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“Man is one of the toughest of animated creatures.
Only the anthrax bacillus can stand so unfavorable
an environment for so long a time ”
—H. L. Mencken,
American humorist and writer

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