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MLO 2017 masthead
TABLE OF CONTENTS             January 11, 2017      
Red arrow Trump solicits anti-vaccine activist to lead immunization safety panel

Red arrow U.S. cancer centers again support HPV vaccination

Red arrow Submissions for MLO’s “Lab of the Year” due January 20

Red arrow Research suggests Byzantine woman died of infection 800 years ago

Red arrow ABBOTT announces CE Mark for Alinity CI-series diagnostic systems

Red arrow HOT CLIPS:  Women's Health – Top Picks
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Trump solicits anti-vaccine activist to lead immunization safety panel

A prominent anti-vaccine crusader said that President-elect Donald J. Trump had asked him to lead a new government commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity — a possibility that spread alarm among medical experts that Mr. Trump could be giving credence to debunked conspiracy theories about the dangers of immunizations.

The vaccine skeptic, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, said that Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly embraced discredited links between vaccines and autism, had asked him to lead the commission during a meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower.

A few hours after Mr. Kennedy told reporters about the meeting, Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, said that the president-elect was “exploring the possibility of forming a committee on autism, which affects so many families.” But Ms. Hicks added that no final decisions had been made.

Medical experts have for years rejected claims of ties between childhood vaccines and conditions like autism. They warned that Mr. Trump’s actions would endanger children by confusing parents about the vital need to get them vaccinated. Told of the meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kennedy, Dr. Carrie L. Byington, the chairwoman of the committee on infectious diseases for the American Academy of Pediatrics and dean of the College of Medicine at Texas A&M University, urged parents to make sure their children get immunized.

“Vaccines are safe, and vaccines save the lives of children and adults every day,” said Dr. Byington, whose committee released a report in August defending vaccines. “The science of vaccines is well established, and the safety of vaccines is well established.”

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Kennedy have described themselves as “pro-vaccine.” But they have repeatedly expressed concerns about what they claim is a link between vaccines and the development of autism. At a Republican presidential debate in September 2015, Mr. Trump described knowing people personally who had seen a cause and effect.

Mr. Trump has also repeatedly used Twitter to spread his concerns about the safety of vaccines. In particular, he has often raised doubts about giving children vaccines in a single large dose rather than several smaller ones.


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U.S. cancer centers again support HPV vaccination

For the second year running, top cancer centers across the United States have come together to issue a statement supporting vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV).

"We feel that HPV vaccination represents a rare opportunity to prevent the nearly 40,000 cases of HPV-associated cancers diagnosed annually in the United States," reads the statement, issued jointly by 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated cancer centers on January 11. A similar statement was issued by the 69 cancer centers last year.

"Several types of high-risk HPV are responsible for many of the cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, and other genital cancers affecting men and women," reads the new statement.

"Although many of these HPV-associated cancers are preventable with the safe and effective vaccine, HPV vaccination rates across the US remain low," it continues. Current rates are 41.9 percent in girls and 28.1 percent in boys, which is far below the 80% goal set by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

"As national leaders in cancer research and clinical care, we are compelled to collectively call upon parents and health care providers to increase vaccination rates so our nation's children don't grow up to become cancer patients," the statement reads.

It concludes with an emphasis in capital letters that "HPV vaccination is CANCER PREVENTION." The new statement also endorses the recently revised dosing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC now recommends that boys and girls aged 11 to 12 years receive two doses of the HPV vaccine at least 6 months apart. This new dosing schedule in younger children "makes it easier for both parents and providers," it comments. Adolescents and young adults older than 15 should continue to complete the three-dose series, it adds.

The statement also emphasizes safety, noting that the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have both confirmed the safety of HPV vaccines. "The vaccines have a safety profile similar to that of other vaccines approved for adolescents in the US," it adds.

These statements issued jointly by the 69 NCI-designated cancer centers have emerged after national summit meetings to discuss the latest research findings and practices for improving vaccination rates.

"We hope our collective action will inspire confidence in parents, young adults, and physicians to take advantage of this rare opportunity to prevent several cancers in the next generation," commented Ernest Hawk, MD, vice president and head of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.


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Submissions for MLO’s “Lab of the Year” due January 20

Medical Laboratory Observer (MLO) is gearing up to honor three outstanding clinical laboratories. A first-prize winner and two runners-up will be selected and saluted in the April 2017 issue.

Online nominations are being accepted through January 20. Clinical labs of any size and location are eligible for consideration.

Any nomination must be original and exclusive to MLO and not have been submitted, either original or edited, to any other publication or online media outlet currently or within the previous year.

The goal is to demonstrate your lab’s contributions to quality patient care and to consider the categories under which you are asked to describe your lab: Customer Service, Productivity, Teamwork, Education and Training, Strategic Outlook and Lab Inspections.

The MLO team looks forward to reading about some exemplary and inspiring labs—and celebrating in print how three of them are having a positive impact on the profession and on patient care in their communities.


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Research suggests Byzantine woman died of infection 800 years ago

When researchers found a pair of nodules on the lower ribs of an 800-year-old skeleton, they assumed the knots were tubercles, evidence of a tuberculosis infections. But when they sliced the nodules open to investigate, they found evidence of a different sort of infection.

Inside the nodules, researchers found microfossils, mineralized cells resembling Staphylococcus bacteria.

"Amazingly, these samples yielded enough DNA to fully reconstruct the genomes of two species of bacteria, Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Gardnerella vaginalis, which infected the woman and likely led to her death," Hendrik Poinar, an ancient DNA expert at McMaster University, said in a news release.

Staphylococcus saprophyticus is a common bacterial pathogen known today as the most frequent cause of urinary tract infections. Gardnerella vaginalis is the main culprit in a vaginal disease called bacterial vaginosis.

"Calcification made little tiny suitcases of DNA and transported it across an 800-year timespan," said Caitlin Pepperell, a professor of medicine and medical microbiology at the University of Wisconsin.

The skeleton on which the unique nodules were found belonged to a 30-year-old woman. Her bones -- found in a stone-lined grave on the outskirts of the ancient city of Troy -- showed evidence of her hardscrabble agrarian life.

But it wasn't hard work in the fields that killed the Byzantine woman. Instead, researchers suggest the skeleton offers the first evidence maternal sepsis in the fossil record.

The presence of the two bacterial stains, combined with the physical evidence, suggest the woman succumbed to chorioamnionitis, a bacterial infection of the placenta.

Few Byzantine adults lived past the age of 50, and many of the skeletons of children show evidence of malnourishment. But the latest findings are a reminder of the bacterial dangers that made ancient life even more treacherous, as well as the risks women faced as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

"There are no records for this anywhere," Poinar added. "We have almost no evidence from the archeological record of what maternal health and death was like until now."


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ABBOTT announces CE Mark for Alinity CI-series diagnostic systems

Abbott announced its Alinity ci-series instruments for clinical chemistry and immunoassay diagnostics have obtained CE Mark and are now available in Europe and other countries that recognize CE Mark. These innovative testing solutions help labs run more tests in less time, reduce human error and increase testing productivity.

Offering a flexible, modular design, the "Alinity c" clinical chemistry system, and the "Alinity i" immunoassay system, can operate individually or as an integrated Alinity ci-series unit, all within half the size of current diagnostics systems.

In addition to greater capacity in a smaller footprint, the Alinity ci-series maintains the high quality performance of Abbott's current systems and has a number of new features based upon customer insights. Features include:
  • Increased loading capacity for samples and tests, and separate lanes to run urgent tests without interrupting lab workflow.
  • Continuous access to solutions and supplies, which gives labs the ability to reload solutions without pausing or stopping instruments or testing cycles for prolonged periods of time.
  • Solution bottles designed to work like a lock and key to ensure the right solutions can only be inserted into the right location.
  • Intuitive menu design and user-friendly interface, common to the Alinity family of instruments, which simplifies training for lab technicians.
Abbott will launch clinical chemistry and immunoassay tests for the Alinity ci-series in phases, with a complete menu of tests available within a year of launch. Clinical chemistry tests detect the presence of different chemicals in the blood and include tests such as sodium, potassium, glucose and calcium. Immunoassay methods use antibody or antigen recognition to detect complex molecules and provide information related to infectious diseases, hormone levels, cardiac risk factors, cancer, thyroid issues and therapeutic drugs.


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HOT CLIPS: Women's Health - Top Picks

Click on the highlighted links below to discover the top MLO archival properties concerning Women's Health, a topic that is now at the forefront of healthcare discussions.

Unmet clinical needs in cervical cancer screening

Novel HER2 dual in situ hybridization (DISH): technique and implementation in routine laboratory testing

Companion diagnostics: the key to personalized treatment of breast and ovarian cancer

Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and its significance in women’s fertility

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