Genetic pathways used to convert stem cells into blood cells | Scientists create blood test that can detect several types of cancer | Study finds variation in blood cancer survival rates in Europe
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July 15, 2014
AABB SmartBrief
News for the transfusion medicine and cellular therapy community

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Genetic pathways used to convert stem cells into blood cells
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered two groups of transcription factors that can be used to turn human pluripotent stem cells into hemogenic endothelial cells, according to a study in the journal Nature Communications. "By over-expressing just two transcription factors, we can, in the laboratory dish, reproduce the sequence of events we see in the embryo where blood is made," researcher Dr. Igor Slukvin said. Business Standard (India)/Indo-Asian News Service (7/14)
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Science & Health
Scientists create blood test that can detect several types of cancer
Researchers at Arizona State University in Tempe have developed a blood test that can identify several common cancers based on the binding patterns of peptides to antibodies from the blood, or immunosignatures. Researchers developed reference immunosignatures from five types of cancers and tested them on 120 samples with the same diseases, which gave 95% classification accuracy. When tested on 1,500 samples covering 14 different diseases, results showed 98% accuracy. The study appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientist, The (free registration) (7/2014)
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Study finds variation in blood cancer survival rates in Europe
Survival rates for most blood cancers increased in Europe from 1997 to 2008, but outcomes can vary greatly by nation due to differences in quality of treatment, according to a study in The Lancet Oncology. Eastern Europe continues to lag other regions. Risk of death decreased for all malignancies but myelodysplastic syndrome, and the improvements were attributed to new drugs such as rituximab and imatinib. Science World Report (7/14)
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Researchers prepare for human trials of Ebola vaccine
With animal studies already underway, researchers are preparing for human safety trials of an antibody cocktail that can combat the deadly Ebola virus, which has already killed nearly 540 people in West Africa. Only after the drug is used in healthy volunteers without adverse effects can it be given to Ebola victims, said Pierre Formenty of the World Health Organization's department of pandemic and epidemic diseases. Bloomberg Businessweek (7/10)
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Emerging Trends
Students design anti-bleeding injectable foam system
Johns Hopkins University undergraduates have created an injectable foam system designed to stop bleeding and prevent wounded soldiers from losing more blood before they reach a medical facility. The foam is intended for use in the first hour after a major traumatic injury. Business Standard (India)/Press Trust of India (7/14)
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Industry News & Practice
Mitek launches platelet-rich-plasma device
Mitek Sports Medicine has released a lightweight device that can isolate platelet-rich-plasma from the patient's blood. The PEAK Platelet Rich Plasma System takes just two and a half minutes to collect 3 milliliters of high-quality PRP from 27 milliliters of whole blood, this article says. (7/14)
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Transplant Genomics secures license to patents related to transplant diagnostics
Transplant Genomics has gained an exclusive license to patent rights on technology from The Scripps Research Institute and Northwestern University. Transplant Genomics intends to develop and bring to market clinical tests based on biomarkers for graft health, and the first will be used to monitor kidney transplant recipients. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/14), GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (7/14)
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Scripps stem cell researchers receive $2.6 million from National Institutes of Health
The Scripps Research Institute has received $2.6 million from the National Institutes of Health to support the production of mesenchymal stem cells for research use. The team will accept requests for available cell lines and cell lines generated from specific types of mice for use in clinical trials. The project also aims to study cell properties for use in predicting human cell behavior through animal models. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/14)
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The Buzz
'en garde!' "In blood banking as in fencing, the slightest deviation can have dire consequences," says Clinical Laboratory Medical Director Arell Shapiro, MD, Brandeis' first All-American fencer. "That's why we use OTIS to help track even the slightest nonconforming event. We then examine these incidents to better determine root causes and trends."
Government & Regulatory
European regulators request additional data on ponatinib
The European Medicines Agency's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee is requesting dosing information and details about risk management plans for Ariad's ponatinib, or Iclusig, for the treatment for certain types of chronic myeloid leukemia. The panel is expected to release its recommendations on Iclusig in October. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (7/14)
Changes proposed in shared savings measures for accountable care organizations
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed increasing the number of quality measures used to evaluate accountable care organizations in the Medicare Shared Savings Program from 33 to 37. The agency also recommended retiring eight measures, most of which focus on diabetes and heart disease care. (7/11)
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Association News
Upcoming education programs focus on reducing transfusion risk and creating engaging PowerPoint presentations
Tomorrow's AABB audioconference, "Practical Approaches to Reduce Risk of Transfusion," will highlight the more common causes of transfusion error and provide options to reduce these risks. Speakers Megan Shetterly, RN, MS, and Suzanne Butch, MLS(ASCP), SBB, DLM, will present practical and easily implemented approaches to reduce human error in specimen labeling and patient bedside identification.

During the Thursday, July 17, webinar, "Engaging PowerPoint Presentations: Design to Presentation," speaker Bette Frick, Ph.D., ELS, will describe the basic functionality of PowerPoint and provide participants with a decision tree regarding when to use it. In addition, she will discuss how to structure and organize presentations and how to synthesize visual and verbal messages to help participants create professional-looking presentations that will maintain audience engagement.
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Reference Lab SpecialistHeartland Blood CentersAurora, IL
Click here to view more job listings.
No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave."
-- Calvin Coolidge,
30th U.S. president
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