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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

New Approach to Detecting Circulating Tumor Cells in Blood Uses Acoustic Sound Waves and Researchers Are Hopeful that the Technology Can Lead to a Medical Laboratory Test

Innovative device uses acoustic sound waves to gently separate circulating cancer cells from white blood cells

In many respects, the ability to separate and identify circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is one of the holy grails of cancer diagnostics. It is widely believed that a clinical laboratory test that can effectively identify CTCs would contribute to earlier detection of cancer and improved outcomes for caner patients.

Pathologists will be interested to learn about a useful new tool that can flag circulating tumor cells. Researchers say that this approach enables them to determine if a cancerous tumor is going to spread, without tagging tumor cells with harsh chemicals. This gentler alternative to current diagnostic methods involves an innovative device that uses “tilted” sound waves to sort tumor cells from white blood cells, noted a report in Headlines & Global News.

This device is about the size of a cell phone. It was developed by a team of scientists from the Pennsylvania State University (PSU), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Their research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The research study was published by PNAS, the journal of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, January 5, 2015. continue reading

Breakthrough DNA Editing Tool May Help Pathologists Develop New Diagnostic Approaches to Identify and Treat the Underlying Causes of Diseases at the Genetic Level

The advent of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic editing tool is already generating novel therapies for diseases and will create new opportunities for pathologists and medical laboratories

In just 24 months, a new gene-editing tool has become the hot topic worldwide among researchers working to understand DNA and develop ways to manipulate it for therapeutic purposes. It goes by the acronym CRISPR and it may soon become quite familiar to most pathologists and medical laboratory scientists.

CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. The gene editing platform is known as CRISPR/CAS9. continue reading

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

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