Biomedical Laboratory Science

Friday, May 13, 2016

Precision Medicine in Oncology

The White House Proposes Increased Funding For a National Precision Medicine Initiative

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama stated his intention to fund a national Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), defined by the NIH as an emerging approach for disease prevention and treatment that takes into account individual variations in genes, environment, and lifestyle.

The White House said that it will ask Congress for $215 million to fund the assembly of databases. Through the data, from over one million patients, scientists and researchers will be able to individualize care and generate the requisite scientific evidence to move the concept of precision medicine into clinical practice.

The initiative, in the near-term, focuses on cancer, with other disease areas included over the longer term. Of the $215 million, the White House proposed $70 million in increased funding for the NCI to advance the field of precision oncology.

Basically the initiative funds efforts to integrate and apply the explosion of molecular data on humans, particularly data associated with individual patients, and taps into opportunities to use it to improve health outcomes. The “time is right” for the initiative, NIH says, because of the sequencing of the human genome, improved technologies for biomedical analysis, and new tools for using large datasets.

MATCH clinical trials analyze tumors for abnormalities using a targeted sequencing
assay that includes 143 genes selected using the Oncomine Knowledgebase.

A Laboratory for Empowerment

Though women earn 50 percent of degrees in science and engineering, they only represent 27 percent of the workforce in those fields. The UCSD Guardian investigates women’s representation in STEM at UCSD, as well as the steps the university is taking to increase their presence.

Seventy-seven cents to every man’s dollar. It’s a statistic often thrown around when discussing the oppression of women in the United States, but less often understood. The number does not come from comparing one male engineer’s salary to that of a female engineer’s. Instead, 77 cents to every one male-earned dollar is a statistic that compares the total income generated by men in the U.S. to the total income generated by American women. It’s a statistic that reveals that, on average, women are employed in lower-paying careers than men are. It’s not that female engineers are being paid 23 percent less than their male counterparts. It’s that there aren’t as many female engineers as male engineers to begin with; considering that, according to, the top 14 paying majors in the U.S. are in science, technology, engineering and math, this is a huge missed opportunity.

This is where STEM comes in. It’s a little acronym that represents a big conversation in today’s society. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2011, women held nearly half the jobs in the U.S. economy, but filled less than a quarter of the country’s STEM-related positions. Although women today have far more opportunities in academia than in the past, there are still far more men occupying STEM-related jobs than women. According to a 2013 study compiled by the National Girls Collaborative Project, while women are earning 50 percent of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, only 27 percent of the science and engineering workforce is made up of women. With nearly half of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees going to women, one would expect women to be equally represented in the workforce, making these statistics surprising.

Simple At-Home Test Developed To Detect Blood Clots

Researchers have developed a simple paper-based screening method that can help patients with blood clotting disorders perform regular tests from the convenience of their homes.

The screening test created by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) could be a game changer for patients with several life-threatening conditions, researchers said.

Patients with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and others who are at risk for blood clotting are especially vulnerable when blood-thinning medication levels get too weak or too strong, they said.

This imbalance can quickly lead to ischemic (clotting) or hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes if not detected in time.

"We have developed a blood screening device for patients on medications like Coumadin, warfarin or other blood thinners who need to monitor their blood-clotting levels on a regular basis," said Andrew Steckl, UC professor of electrical engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Read more: Simple At-Home Test Developed To Detect Blood Clots

The simple technology also help patients who have a known inherited blood clotting disorder detect
concerning levels early. (Representational Image)
Source: ndtv

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Neurotensin, A Hormone Found In The Digestive Tract, May Play Role In Obesity By Aiding In Fat Absorption From Food

A hormone predominantly found in our guts may help us absorb fat from our diets and could contribute to the development of obesity under certain circumstances, according to a new study published Wednesday in Nature.

The researchers, primarily hailing from the University of Kentucky, conducted a series of experiments on lab mice, fruit flies, and humans that examined how the hormone, called neurotensin (NT), functions in the gut. Mice deficient in NT proved less able to absorb fat from food and they appeared to be protected from conditions like obesity, fatty liver, and insulin resistance that are associated with a high-fat diet. On the other hand, fruit flies engineered to produce NT accumulated more fat in their bodies than normal.

Aside from seeing a similar fat absorption effect in human gut cells, the researchers also analyzed data from an earlier, long-running population study of middle-aged adults and found that obese and insulin-resistant individuals were more likely to have high levels of a precursor hormone, Pro-NT, in their blood. Those who weren’t obese but had the highest levels of Pro-NT were more than twice as likely to eventually develop obesity than people with the lowest levels of Pro-NT.

New research suggests that a hormone found in our gut may help us break down fats, like the kind in
butter, above, and possibly contribute to obesity

Laboratory Medicine Consultants – Medical Lab Technician

In the declining reimbursements and slower lab results days we are all now facing it has become a great topic of interest for many physicians to talk about opening or starting their own medical laboratory. This is normally met with the next bump in the road which is what all does it take in order to open the laboratory.

Steps to finding a Medical Lab Technician
The first thing to do is to have a business plan. This is where the technical know how has to meet the logical part of the brain. When we look at many business plans that other consultants have put together we understand why they charge such ridiculous rates for them. No one can understand:
  1. How to make it happen
  2. How to make money once it is in place
  3. What the next steps are to completing it
  4. What options were not discussed prior to making the plan

Source: medicallab

Bunions: Facts, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Bunions can be described as a bony bump present at the base of the big toe joint.

This progressive bone disorder can be painful. The growth of a bunion arises from changes to the structure of the bone within the foot itself. These changes lead to the bones in the toes and feet not lining up properly.

The classic bunion bump is caused by the big toe pushing against the neighboring toe, which causes the joint to stick out.

Bunions do not only affect adults. Adolescents can also experience these bumps, which are referred to as adolescent bunions. This type of bunion is usually an inherited condition.

At times, bunions can occur near the base of the little toe instead of the big toe. These bunions are known as bunionettes or "tailor's bunion."

Bunions are bony bumps that often form at the base of the big toe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Meiotic Mysteries

Understanding why so many human oocytes contain the wrong number of chromosomes

Meiosis in human females takes place over decades. At any point in this process, an incorrect number of chromosomes can be transferred to daughter cells, resulting in aneuploid gametes, the most common cause of miscarriage and the root of certain developmental disorders, such as Down syndrome.

In the Fetus
During gestation, primordial germ cells replicate their DNA and pair up homologous chromosomes for homologous recombination. Meiosis is then arrested until ovulation many years later.

In the Adult
Just before ovulation, the oocyte resumes meiosis, building a meiotic spindle of microtubules to segregate homologous chromosomes. Upon fertilization, the egg undergoes a second round of division, segregating sister chromatids.

Read more: Meiotic Mysteries

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tools for Lung Cancer Research

Recent advances in lung cancer research suggest a personalized approach to diagnostics and therapeutics to reduce mortality

Due to its high rate of mortality, lung cancer is a prominent area of research for scientists. Lung cancer is a complex disease with many subtypes resulting from factors such as family history, lifestyle and occupation-with each subtype requiring different treatment regimens. Thus, developing therapeutics for this disease requires vast research efforts.

The specific subtypes of the cancer must be paired to successful treatments, which can then be matched to individual patients. The American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) has responded to this initiative for personalized medicine by creating new drug screening and diagnostic test development tools, such as tumor cell panels based on genetic alteration, primary cells, gene-edited isogenic cell lines and cell line derivatives.

"Over the years, we have expanded our portfolio into the most diverse and unique collection of cancer cells to include thousands of human and animal cancer cell lines representing the diversity of the disease," said Fang Tian, PhD, lead scientist at ATCC. "Our growing collection of lung cancer cell lines is now just shy of 100 lines.

Source: laboratory-manager.advanceweb

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