RNA helps dengue virus evade cells' defenses | Melphalan plus stem cell transplant benefits multiple myeloma patients | U.S. reports first locally acquired chikungunya cases
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July 18, 2014
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RNA helps dengue virus evade cells' defenses
According to a study in the journal PLOS Pathogens, the dengue virus produces ribonucleic acid that degrades the ability of cells to produce antiviral proteins, undermining the cells' defenses and allowing the virus to replicate. The findings provide insight into how noncoding RNA works and could open the door to new treatments. NewKerala.com (India)/Asian News International (7/17)
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Science & Health
Melphalan plus stem cell transplant benefits multiple myeloma patients
Patients with multiple myeloma who had previously received autologous stem cell transplants experienced longer time to progression with high-dose melphalan chemotherapy and salvage stem cell transplants compared with conventional therapy. The findings suggest that salvage autologous stem cell transplants should be the standard of care for certain patients, Dr. Philip McCarthy wrote in a commentary accompanying the study in the journal The Lancet Oncology. Healio (free registration)/HemOnc Today (7/17)
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U.S. reports first locally acquired chikungunya cases
The Florida Department of Health confirmed on Thursday the first two domestically acquired chikungunya cases in the U.S.: a 41-year-old woman in Miami-Dade County and a 50-year-old man in Palm Beach County. The illness appears to have been spread by mosquitoes that bit people who were ill after traveling in the Caribbean. The cases do not signal a broad public health threat, a state health official said. Reuters (7/17), USA Today/The Associated Press (7/17)
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Scientists identify genetic mutations behind rare inflammatory disease in children
A National Institutes of Health study in the New England Journal of Medicine identified mutations that are associated with a rare autoinflammatory disease called STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy. High levels of the STING protein were found in the cells of blood vessels and the lungs, possibly explaining the disease's greater impact on these tissues. PhysiciansBriefing.com/HealthDay News (7/17), Business Standard (India)/Indo-Asian News Service (7/17)
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Emerging Trends
Technology could fight malaria by changing mosquito DNA
Altering mosquito DNA may be the answer to curbing the ongoing spread of malaria, according to a pair of papers published in Science and eLife. The papers' authors describe new technology known as Crispr, which could allow scientists to alter mosquito DNA, either to make the insects resistant to the malaria parasite or to engineer mosquitoes to become infertile, eliminating their population altogether. Since the technology could have wide-ranging effects, the researchers are urging discussion before action is taken. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/17)
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Critical-access hospitals make strides in information technology adoption
A study in the journal Health Affairs examined data from a survey of critical-access hospitals from November 2012 to April 2013 and identified eight areas in which the facilities have improved their health information technology. Almost 9 in 10 of the hospitals have either full or partial electronic health record systems, 70% have teleradiology capabilities, 59% have the ability to offer telehealth services and 50% offer e-prescribing. BeckersHospitalReview.com (7/14)
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Growth expected for infection surveillance, patient acuity tools
A report from HIMSS Analytics suggests that the market for tools used for infection surveillance, patient acuity and laboratory outreach services is maturing as the health information technology sector puts more emphasis on technology that supports preventive care and clinical efficacy. The report was based on a study of 27 clinical applications. Healthcare Informatics online (7/15)
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Industry News & Practice
ViaCyte to begin stem cell therapy trial for type 1 diabetes
ViaCyte has filed an application to start a Phase I/II clinical trial of its embryonic stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes, which will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the product in humans. The stem cells are grown to replace insulin-producing cells, packaged in a semi-permeable device and implanted into the patient. The work is funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. San Diego Union-Tribune (7/17)
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Longitude Prize offers $17.1 million for point-of-care bacterial infection test
The Nesta Foundation, the Technology Strategy Board of the U.K. and the British Broadcasting Corp. are backing a $17.1 million prize for an accurate, inexpensive point-of-care test to diagnose bacterial infections and guide antibiotic selection. Such a test would allow more targeted prescribing of antibiotics and reduce misdiagnoses, the prize website says. Medscape (free registration) (7/15)
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Phenomenex to launch spinoff company Neoteryx
Neoteryx will be spun off of Phenomenex to focus on manufacturing products for the collection, handling and analysis of biological fluids. The company will use its Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling technology to develop products related to microsampling. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/17)
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Government & Regulatory
FDA approves hereditary angioedema drug
The FDA has approved Ruconest, a drug for adult and teenage patients with hereditary angioedema. The approval was based on positive results of a trial that evaluated the safety and efficacy of Ruconest in 44 patients. Pharmaceutical Processing (7/17)
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Association News
Transfusion News website debuts additional features
TransfusionNews.com has recently been upgraded to be more useful for the entire community of transfusion medicine and cellular therapy professionals. The site provides information about news from blood banking, transfusion medicine, tissue transplantation, cellular therapies, HSCs and other related areas. "The Transfusion News website is an even better resource than before," said Aaron Tobian, M.D., Ph.D., editor of Transfusion News. "With the latest updates to the site -- an interactive calendar of events, an easily searchable archive of all the latest pertinent research articles, and transfusion medicine questions of the day -- users have a fun way to stay up-to-date on transfusion topics." The enhanced website presents breaking news, expert commentary, brief summaries of recent research studies and video news updates. In addition, the new features include a comments section for site visitors, links to related topics and French translations of video transcripts. The website publishes new articles weekly and posts videos around the 15th and 30th of each month.
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Transfusion Services Supervisor (Evenings)Puget Sound Blood CenterSeattle, WA
Clinical Nurse SpecialistPuget Sound Blood CenterSeattle, WA
Collections TrainerBlood Bank of HawaiiHonolulu, HI
APHERESIS MANAGERBlood Bank of HawaiiHonolulu, HI
PROJECT MANAGERBlood Bank of HawaiiHonolulu, HI
Click here to view more job listings.
Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important."
-- Stephen Covey,
American writer and educator
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