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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

Has the Time Come for Integration of Radiology and Pathology?

More collaboration between radiologists and pathologists could speed up diagnoses, increase accuracy, and improve patient outcomes, say advocates of an integrated diagnostic service

For years, certain pathologists and radiologists have floated the idea that an integrated diagnostic service involving both medical specialties could improve patient safety and contribute to improved patient outcomes. Now that the U.S. healthcare system is encouraging tighter integration of clinical services, advocates of an integrated diagnostic service involving radiology and pathology believe that the era of integrated diagnostics may be soon upon us.

There is appeal to the concept of an integrated diagnostic service that would deliver a single, unified report to the referring physician. For example, pathologists and radiologists often work together to work up certain types of cancer. They bring complementary skills to the diagnostic process. Often, particularly in complex cases, their collaboration improves the precision of their respective diagnoses and points the physician to the most appropriate therapies for the patient. continue reading

Stanford’s New Ant-sized Radio Could Accelerate Massive Connectivity through the Internet of Things and Enable Real-time Medical Laboratory Testing

Micro-miniature intelligent radio devices are poised to revolutionize the connectivity of objects in ways that could open doors to new diagnostic devices to help pathologists detect disease

In the future, both in vitro diagnostics and in vivo diagnostics will utilize ever-smaller devices. The shrinking size of these analytical devices will give pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists new tools to detect disease earlier, while monitoring patient with chronic conditions in real-time in consultation with attending physicians.

Now comes news of a significant breakthrough that will allow researchers to shrink down the size of devices used for a wide range of applications, including medical laboratory testing. Engineers from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, have created a prototype radio-on-a-chip the size of an ant.

Their invention could enable a vast assortment of gadgets to connect and communicate with each other, and with physicians, via the Internet. The new device has the potential for numerous applications for pathology and medical laboratories, and could be used in many types of diagnostic testing devices, including in vivo diagnostics. continue reading

ETH Zurich Develops Implantable Molecular Device Capable of Monitoring Blood pH and Regulating Insulin Production in Mice; May One Day Allow Pathologists to Remotely Monitor Patients

Prototype could provide glimpse of radically different future for patient monitoring and present new opportunities for pathologists and medical laboratory scientists

Are pathologists and medical laboratory scientists ready for a new diagnostic paradigm? Instead of specimens transported into a central medical laboratory, how about in vivo real-time monitoring of patients with chronic diseases, where pathologists are able to remotely spot changes in a patient’s condition as they happen and alert physicians to take timely action?

Researchers are combining several technologies to create sensor-based systems for in vivo real-time monitoring of body processes. In Basel, Switzerland, a team at ETH Zurich’s Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering created an implantable sensor for continuous monitoring of blood pH that is paired up with a gene feedback mechanism to produce the necessary amount of insulin. The dual function device has been described as a “molecular prosthesis.” The purpose of this device is to monitor patients with diabetes.

While ETH Zurich’s prototype needs more development before it will be ready for clinical uses, the university’s research shows pathologists and medical laboratory scientists how fast new capabilities are being developed that can eventually support a radically different approach to patient diagnosis and patient monitoring. Use of such real-time in vivo diagnostic devices could allow laboratory professionals to remotely monitor patients and trigger clinical interventions when the biomarkers being tracked indicate such a need. continue reading

Synthetic Biologists Demonstrate Ability to Rapidly Create Cheap, Accurate In Vitro Diagnostics Tests That Could Eventually Help Pathologists Diagnose Disease

Wyss Institute develops prototype Ebola test in less than 12 hours with $20 in materials, perhaps paving the way for inexpensive paper-based diagnostic tests with a wide range of applications outside the medical laboratory

One goal of many synthetic biology researchers is to create in vitro diagnostic testing systems that produce results that are as accurate as those produced in today’s state-of-the-art clinical laboratories, yet are much cheaper to run because they incorporate low-cost materials, such as paper.

Recently, two teams of researchers worked to demonstrate how several synthetic biology methods, when combined with programmable paper-based diagnostic platform, could detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria and strain-specific Ebola virus. These findings were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal last fall.

Such cell-free circuits embedded in paper could be the breakthrough in synthetic biology that leads to pocketsize blotter tests that can detect such diseases as Ebola in the field.  Should this line of research be applied to clinical settings, pathologists and medical laboratory scientists could soon be processing bandages that change colors in the presence of certain bacteria, or examining paper-based clothing infused with diagnostic laboratory tests that react to bio-markers specific to a chronic disease patient’s condition. continue reading

In the UK, Pathologists Are Watching Phase II of a Clinical Trial for a Breathalyzer System That Uses Only a Breath Specimen to Diagnose Lung Cancer

If the clinical study validates this patient-friendly, non-invasive approach to diagnosing lung cancer, it could eventually mean fewer referrals of tissue biopsies to medical laboratories

For almost a decade, pathologists have seen a regular stream of news stories about technologies that utilize a sample of human breath to diagnose a disease or health condition. Now comes news that just such a diagnostic test for lung cancer is beginning clinical trials in the United Kingdom.

The clinical trials will evaluate breathalyzer technology developed by Engineer Billy Boyle, M.S., Co-founder and President of Operations at Cambridge-based Owlstone Ltd.. The clinical trials of this new breathalyzer technology to detect lung cancer are taking place at two National Health Service (NHS) hospitals: University Hospitals of Leicester and Cambridge’s Papworth Hospital in the United Kingdom.

The reason why so much research is happening in this field will be familiar to clinical laboratory managers and pathologists. Use of volatile organic compound (VOC) biomarkers in breath to diagnose disease is an ideal concept because it is convenient, non-invasive, and well tolerated by patients. However, until the start of this clinical study, researchers have explored the potential of this diagnostic approach for some time, but with limited success. continue reading

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