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DARK Daily Laboratory and Pathology News

DARK Daily is an e-briefing service providing up-to-the minute news of relevance for anyone working in diagnostic medicine, from clinical laboratories and pathology groups to lab industry suppliers and diagnostic technology companies. DARK Daily is part of The Dark Intelligence Group, Inc. and is dedicated to bringing useful business and management intelligence to laboratory managers, pathologists and diagnostic executives. Our recognized expertise in the strategic direction of laboratory medicine and the management of laboratories is available through DARK Daily, The Dark Report, free White Papers, Lab Resource Directory, the Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management, Lab Quality Confab, and strategic consulting services.

Latest E-Briefings

Good News for Clinical Laboratory Scientists: iPad App For Medical Laboratory Pipetting Protects Lives and Jobs!

Researchers sought to improve the tedious laboratory task of pipetting. Their app-based solution increases productivity, improves safety, and doesn’t rely on expensive robots.

Even something as mundane as pipetting is getting a high-tech makeover and clinical laboratory scientists around the world are likely to benefit from an innovation that incorporates an iPad into the pipetting process.

Scientists at the prestigious Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently unveiled the iPipet system. This in an innovative system which employs tablet computers such as iPads to guide the tedious and often dangerous task of manual pipetting, according to a news release.

As pathologists and clinical laboratory workers know, many busy laboratories rely on robotic pipetting to avoid risky manual processes. And while technically able to perform higher volumes of tests, robotic pipetting is extremely expensive and requires technical support personnel that many labs cannot afford. This is why Whitehead’s iPad application, which makes the process more productive and accurate, is a positive development. It’s also important to note that iPipet protects technologists’ jobs (as opposed to robots), and iPipet may be easier to learn and less expensive for labs to adopt, as well. continue reading

The Scientist’s Top 10 Scientific Innovations for 2014 Offer Powerful New Research Tools to Advance Diagnostics and Possibly Find Uses in Clinical Laboratories

Many of these new technologies could help pathologists develop new diagnostic tests and offer medical laboratories opportunities to expand their services

Pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists tracking the hottest new diagnostic technologies may be in interested in the 2014 list of “Top Ten Innovations” recently published by The Scientist.

This is a competition and each year The Scientist has a panel of five experts in life sciences review the entries. Among this year’s Top Ten Innovations are promising diagnostic tools and new technologies with the potential to disrupt the current state of healthcare. In the near future, most of these technologies will be used by researchers to better understand the underlying, genetic cause of diseases and advance new treatments. However, some of these innovative technologies have already been adopted for clinical use. Others are probably several years away from becoming the basis for new medical laboratory tests.

Here is a short overview of The Scientist magazine’s list of “Top Ten Innovations for 2014.” continue reading

Princeton Engineers Develop a Non-invasive Blood Glucose Test that Uses Imaging Technology

If validated in clinical trials, this novel technology has the potential to shift some glucose testing from the clinical laboratory by offering diabetics a convenient, painless blood sugar test

Glucose testing is both a headache and an opportunity for clinical laboratories here in the United States and across the globe. It is a headache because many point-of-care and patient self-test glucose devices in wide use today lack the reliability of glucose testing performed in medical laboratories that use sophisticated diagnostic instruments.

It is an opportunity because, here in the United States and across the globe, there are tens of millions of type 2 diabetics and hundreds of millions of pre-diabetics. Health systems have an unmet demand for glucose testing that is non-invasive, accurate, can be done in patient care settings, and is cheap.

Recently, researchers at Princeton University announced development of noninvasive, in vivo glucose sensor technology that uses a broad-spectrum band of infrared (IR) light to accurately measure blood sugar.

The clinical market for such a device is huge. Just in the United States, there are more than 30 million diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and more than 70 million pre-diabetics. Researchers have been working for some time to develop a patient-friendly glucose-monitoring technology that does not require a needle stick or venipuncture. continue reading

Qualcomm TriCorder XPRIZE Selects 10 Finalists: Next Step Is for Devices to Diagnose Patients using Clinical Laboratory Test Technologies and Similar Diagnostic Tools

This new device will likely to be disruptive to clinical laboratories, as it can noninvasively diagnose at least 16 diseases and conditions

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers who are fans of Star Trek will be interested to learn that a real-life “Tricorder” medical diagnostic device may be just around the corner. Officials of the XPRIZE organization recently announced 10 finalists who are competing to build a working Tricorder capable of monitoring multiple vital signs and identifying specific disease states.

Erik Viirre, M.D., Ph.D., Technical and Medical Director for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, announced the 10 finalists last fall. Their devices may have a disruptive impact on medical laboratories, particularly if they lead to inexpensive, self-diagnostic tools that are capable of immediately running most lab tests.

Launched in January 2012 by the XPRIZE Foundation, which organizes international competitions to advance innovation, this life sciences contest to make the tricorder a reality is offering $10 million (£6m) in prize money. (See Dark Daily, “Pathologists and Clinical Lab Scientists: Design a Modern “Tricorder” and You Could Win $10 Million From the XPRIZE Foundation!,” March 22, 2013.) continue reading

Do Some Clinical Laboratory Companies Oversell Prenatal Genetic Screening Tests?

A growing number of media stories claim medical lab companies that develop genetic screening assays oversell the accuracy of such tests and fail to educate parents and doctors about the risks of false positives and false negatives

In response to growing concerns by consumers about the accuracy of some proprietary genetic screening assays, several media outlets have begun reporting on this sector of the clinical laboratory industry.

What gives these news stories emotional punch is the fact that patients use these proprietary medical laboratory tests to make decisions that can be life-changing. In its story about these tests, the Boston Sunday Globe used the headline “Oversold prenatal tests spur some to choose abortions.” continue reading

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