News/ Trends/ Analysis

March 1, 2009


News/ Trends/ Analysis
Global diseases

MD helped control Ebola spread.
William T. Close, MD, 84, father of actress Glenn Close, died of a heart
attack on Jan. 15 at his home in Big Piney, WY. In 1976, Close, a
surgeon, was personal physician to the president of Zaire and its army's
chief doctor during the first epidemic of the newly discovered deadly
Ebola hemorrhagic fever. The epidemic had caused panic, and military
personnel shunned the epidemic area. Close coincidentally met up with
two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologists who had
been sent from Atlanta to help control the virus' spread and was able to
help commandeer airplanes to ferry equipment to where it was needed. His
connections, organizational ability, and medical expertise were
essential in halting the spread of the disease.


New cytology rules published.
A news article from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) traces
cytology proficiency testing (PT) from its introduction with the CLIA
'88 mandate through the current state of affairs involving changes to
the now-outmoded program. The CAP began again in the new congressional
cycle to gain relief from the outdated PT, with its support of an
educational program that assesses cytologists' skills, encourages
educational growth and development, and is flexible enough to keep pace
with evolving technology and cancer-screening programs, all with an
emphasis on patient safety. To read the proposed changes to CLIA '88, go

New tests

Aid in ID of E coli/P aeruginosa. Among new tests being approved by the Food and Drug Administration under
its 510(k) clearance is the first diagnostic test for identifying
Escherichia coli
and Pseudomonas aeruginosa directly from
positive blood cultures. This latest addition to AdvanDx' easy-to-use,
molecular-based PNA FISH diagnostics platform is the E coli/P
PNA FISH, which provides critical results 24 to 48 hours
sooner than conventional methods to help clinicians improve care and
outcomes for patients with bloodstream infections. An estimated 100,000
patients develop bloodstream infections due to Gram-negative pathogens
such as E coli and P aeruginosa, spending an average of
five to 24 days in the hospital, suffering mortality rates as high as
40%, and costing institutions, on average, $40,000 to $60,000 per case,
according to articles in Antimicrobial Agent and Chemotherapy and
Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Industry watch

Score developed by late Dr. Gleason predicts prostate
On Jan. 20, an obituary for Dr. Donald
F. Gleason, 88, was published. Gleason, the Minnesota pathologist who
developed the Gleason score that is now used almost universally in the
United States to predict the likely outcome of prostate cancer, died
Dec. 28 of a heart attack at his home in Edina. According to the
American Cancer Society, virtually all of the 186,320 U.S. men who will
be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year will know their Gleason
score and what it means about the likelihood they will be among the
28,660 who will die from it.


April 16-17. The two-day 41st Annual Oak Ridge Conference at the Hyatt Regency
Baltimore includes opportunities for diagnostics executives, lab
directors, and academic researchers to interact with scientists from
academia/industry who develop technologies for diagnostic testing. To
learn more, go to

April 19-23. The 2009 “Professional Practice in Clinical Chemistry: A Review and
Update” at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town in Alexandria, VA, features
presentations on fundamental and state-of-the-art practices in clinical
chemistry. To learn more and register, go to

April 28. AACC, APHL, and the CDC co-sponsor a one-day conference at the Omni
Hotel at the CNN Center in Atlanta on “The Lab's Changing Role in
Managing Infectious Diseases.” Issues include HIV/AIDS testing, managing
the threat of MRSA and C diff, and drug resistance. For more
information, see .

April 28-29 The 14th annual Executive War College is headed back to the Sheraton New
Orleans! Get the latest and best in lab and pathology management. Go to to check on updates and registration
information. Last year's event was sold out, so make plans early.

May 2-5. CLMA ThinkLab '09, lab management's annual meeting sponsored by Orchard
Software, is being held this year in the Tampa Convention Center.
Several new educational initiatives are slated for 2009. For updates and
information, visit .