Phase III study is set for stem cell treatment of blood cancers | Individual prions capable of cell damage | MU compliance bolsters use of handheld devices, report says
February 15, 2012
AABB SmartBrief
News for the transfusion medicine and cellular therapy community

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Phase III study is set for stem cell treatment of blood cancers
Enrollment has been completed for a 100-patient Phase III clinical trial of StemEx, a cell therapy for patients with blood cancers who cannot find a bone marrow match, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Gamida Cell have announced. The companies' joint venture is planning to market StemEx next year. Globes (Israel) (2/14)
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Science & HealthSponsored By
Individual prions capable of cell damage
New research published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences challenges the concept that neural degeneration is the result of prion aggregates, also called oligomers. The study identified a prion monomer that also causes significant cell damage. "By identifying a single molecule as the most toxic species of prion proteins, we've opened a new chapter in understanding how prion-induced neurodegeneration occurs," one of the researchers said. Medical News Today (2/14)
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Emerging Trends
MU compliance bolsters use of handheld devices, report says
The market for handheld devices grew more than 10% from 2007 to 2011, driven in part by the federal Meaningful Use initiative, according to a report from Kalorama Information, a market research firm. Devices such as smartphones and tablet computers are finding "a variety of uses in the health field, including access to patient records at the point of care, improved viewing capabilities for medical images and easy offsite patient monitoring," according to the report. (2/14)
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Industry News & Practice
Fla. hospital uses platelet-rich plasma treatments
Doctors at Cleveland Clinic Florida are monitoring the use of platelet-rich plasma to treat some injuries. A sports medicine specialist says treatment results have varied by location. One patient who suffered from tennis elbow said that six weeks after the treatment, his arm was back to normal. WTVJ-TV (Miami) (2/9)
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Positive results announced for hemophilia drug
A preclinical trial showed that Prolor Biotech's hemophilia drug candidate Factor VIIa-CTP increased survival rates and thrombin levels in mice compared with recombinant Factor VIIa. "With these positive results, we now have what we believe could be a highly competitive coagulation factor that could potentially become a leader in the hemophilia market," Prolor president Shai Novik said. Globes (Israel) (2/14)
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Becton beefs up microbiology diagnostics business with Kiestra buy
Kiestra Lab Automation, a Dutch firm specializing in lab automation, has been acquired by Becton Dickinson for an undisclosed sum. The deal will allow Kiestra to operate under Becton's diagnostics unit, which markets microbiology testing products to clinics, hospitals, blood banks and reference labs. Clinica (subscription required) (2/14)
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Private equity company to purchase SeraCare for $80.8M
An affiliate of Linden Capital Partners agreed to pay $80.8 million to acquire SeraCare Life Sciences, which provides contract research services and makes diagnostic control products and plasma-derived reagents. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the second quarter. Reuters (2/13)
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Report: Nurses have "critical role" in hospital design
When nurses at Cass Regional Medical Center in Harrisonville, Mo., and Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Illinois gave input on the design of new facilities, they focused on what would make their jobs easier and what would be conducive to patient care and healing. The two hospitals were part of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report that said nurses have a "critical role to play on multidisciplinary teams charged with assess­ing, planning, and designing new and replacement facilities." HealthLeaders Media (2/7)
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The Buzz
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Government & Regulatory
Congress reaches tentative deal on reimbursement rate
Congressional negotiators say they have agreed on language to stave off a 27.4% reduction in the Medicare physician reimbursement rate and extend unemployment benefits and a payroll tax reduction. The cost of the Medicare deal will be offset by cuts to a prevention and public health fund set up under the health care law, lower payments to hospitals dealing with bad debt and other cuts to health care spending. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/15), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/14)
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Regulators OK embryonic stem cell line from University of Michigan
Regulators have approved a stem cell line developed at the University of Michigan, making the line eligible for federally funded research. The move is also a sign of approval for Michigan's informed consent process for the donation of embryos for research, said an official with the Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies. Detroit Free Press (2/15)
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CMS might delay ICD-10 requirements
CMS might extend the Oct. 1, 2013, deadline for health care providers to implement the ICD-10 insurance coding system. "I'm committing today to work with you to re-examine the pace at which we implement ICD-10," CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told attendees at an American Medical Association conference. The AMA says complying with the new coding rules will be costly for providers while offering little benefit to patients. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (2/14), HealthLeaders Media (2/15)
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Association News
Annual AABB committee Transition Renewal Process for 2012-13 now open
AABB individual members interested in serving on an AABB committee for the 2012-13 association year are encouraged to apply by filling out a volunteer form during the current transition renewal process, or TRP 2012. The association's committees, which are made up of volunteers, work to ensure that the information and knowledge shared with the membership, public and media is timely and accurate. Committee members interact regularly with other experts and contribute their insight and knowledge as the committees form AABB policy and implement AABB strategic initiatives. Learn more.
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