Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Monday, February 29, 2016

12 must-read tips to improve your pipetting technique

When was the last time you thought about your pipetting technique after you first learned about it? For many of us pipetting becomes routine after a little practice. Typically, liquid handling quality assurance regulations place great emphasis on pipette calibration, repair and maintenance. However, ensuring the competence of the pipette operator (a lab employee) is an often neglected and altogether crucial area. In reality even highly experienced laboratory technologists may have never received formal pipetting training and may be prone to routine errors.

Read more:
Pipetting Skills Test – How Good Are You? 

Source: Splice

High-resolution picture of coronaviruses entering cells

High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy and supercomputing have now made it possible to analyze in detail the infection mechanisms of coronaviruses. These viruses are notorious for attacking the respiratory tract of humans and animals.

A research team that included scientists from the University of Washington (UW), the Pasteur Institute and the University of Utrecht has obtained an atomic model of a coronavirus spike protein that promotes entry into cells. Analysis of the model is providing ideas for specific vaccine strategies. The study results are outlined in a recent UW Medicine-led study published in Nature. David Veesler, UW assistant professor of biochemistry, headed the project.

Read more:
Structure that coronaviruses use to enter cells is unveiled

Source: UW HSNewsBeat

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Crochet Blood Cell Trio

Crochet your own heroes of the circulatory system: the Red Blood Cell, White Blood Cell, and Platelet. Makes fast, easy, cute gifts for a special nurse in your life or a pre-med student, or to give happy thoughts and support to an ill friend.

RBC is about 4 inches (10 cm) wide. You will need an E/3.5mm hook, worsted-weight yarn, two 9mm or 10mm black eyes, calf-length tube sock for stuffing, and black embroidery floss.

WBC is about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. You will need an F/3.75mm hook, worsted-weight yarn, two 9mm or 10mm black eyes, polyester fiberfill stuffing, and black embroidery floss.

Platelet is about 3 inches (8 cm) wide in the body. Strands are about 4 inches (10 cm) long. (You can add more strands in any length you like.) You will need an E/3.5mm crochet hook, worsted-weight yarn, two 9mm or 10mm black eyes, about 12 inches (30 cm) black embroidery floss, and polyester fiberfill for stuffing if desired.

Read more:
Blood Cell Amigurumi Trio Crochet Pattern Bundle

Source: Etsy via Jana Geek

Love and Science

Scientist way to say it...

Te amo - I love you

Neutrophil Numerals and Alphabet

Beautiful variation of granulocyte morphology

Principles of genome analysis and genomics - Free eBook

Principles of Genome Analysis and Genomics
Sandy B. Primrose Business and Technology Management High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire, UK Richard M. Twyman Department of Biology University of York York, UK

Free eBook published by Life Sciences Academy Gwalior

Download here:
principles of genome analysis and genomics.pdf 

Source: Life Sciences AcademyGwalior

Urinary casts

Urinary casts are tiny tube-shaped particles that can be found when urine is examined under the microscope during a test called urinalysis. Urinary casts may be made up of white blood cells, red blood cells, kidney cells, or substances such as protein or fat. The content of a cast can help tell your health care provider whether your kidney is healthy or abnormal.
  • Fatty casts are seen in people who have lipids in urine, usually as a complication of nephrotic syndrome. 
  • Granular casts are a sign of many types of kidney diseases. 
  • Hyaline casts are usually caused by dehydration. 
  • Red blood cell casts mean there is a microscopic amount of bleeding from the kidney. They are seen in many kidney diseases. 
  • Renal tubular epithelial cell casts reflect damage to tubule cells in the kidney. These casts are seen in conditions such as renal tubular necrosis, viral disease (such as CMV nephritis), and kidney transplant rejection. 
  • Waxy casts can be found in people with advanced kidney disease and chronic kidney failure. 
  • White blood cell (WBC) casts are more common with acute kidney infections.
Read more:
Urinary casts

Image 1: Urinary casts (phase contrast microscopy). (A), Hyaline cast; (B), hyaline-granular cast; (C), waxy cast; (D), erythrocyte cast, with erythrocytes (arrows) embedded in cast matrix; (E), hemoglobin cast; (F), leukocyte cast, showing large nuclei (arrows) characteristic of polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

Source: Medline Plus

Saturday, February 27, 2016

I love you also in molecular level

Genetic machmaking <3

Performing a Complete Blood Count (CBC) on a Lipemic Sample

Very lipemic samples can have spurious laboratory results on automated analyzers. Some parameters of the complete blood count (hemoglobin, MCH, MCHC) are more accurately reported based on the findings of washed specimens which have had the lipemic plasma removed.

Plasma Replacement Procedure:
The lipemic specimen is initially run through the automated instrument and the results recorded.
  1. A specimen of blood is aliquoted into a tube.
  2. The height of the sample in the tube is marked by a line.
  3. The sample is then washed with instrument diluent followed by
    centrifugation and supernatant removal until the supernatant is clear.
  4. An amount of diluent is added to bring the sample to the marked line. This needs to be done as accurately as possible.
  5. The washed sample is then run through the analyzer.

Correction factor = (RBC count on untreated specimen) / (RBC count on washed specimen)

Hemoglobin to report = (hemoglobin of washed specimen) * (correction factor)

Read more:
Performing a Complete Blood Count (CBC) on a Lipemic Sample

Source: MELINA+ Algorithms

New Point-of-Care Test For Male Fertility Potential

More than 70 million couples worldwide are affected by infertility, with male-factor infertility accounting for about half of the cases. Semen analysis is critical for determining male fertility potential, but conventional testing is costly and complex. Here, we demonstrate a paper-based microfluidic approach to quantify male fertility potential, simultaneously measuring 3 critical semen parameters in 10 min: live and motile sperm concentrations and sperm motility.

Detection limits of 8.46 and 15.18 million/mL were achieved for live and motile sperm concentrations, respectively. The live and motile sperm concentrations and motility values from our device correlated with those of the standard clinical approaches (R2 ≥ 0.84). In all cases, device provided 100% agreement in terms of clinical outcome. The device was also robust and could tolerate conditions of high absolute humidity (22.8 g/m3) up to 16 weeks when packaged with desiccant.

New device outperforms existing commercial paper-based assays by quantitatively measuring live and motile sperm concentrations and motility, in only 10 min. This approach is applicable to current clinical practices as well as self-diagnostic applications.

Read more:
Paper-Based Quantification of Male Fertility Potential

Sinton Lab web page 

Source: Clinical Chemistry

Source: Clinical Chemistry & Sinton Lab

T2Candida Panel - A Blood Scan for Sepsis Without Culture

The T2Candida panel and the T2Dx Instrument are for the direct detection of Candida species in human whole blood specimens from patients with symptoms of invasive fungal infections or with conditions that predispose them to such infections.

The T2Candida panel detects Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida glabrata, and Candida krusei. The FDA said that the panel is the first direct blood test for detecting the five yeast pathogens.

According to the agency, traditional methods of detecting yeast pathogens in the bloodstream can take up to six days and identifying the specific type of yeast present in the bloodstream may take even longer. By comparison, the T2Candida panel and T2Dx Instrument can identify the five common yeast pathogens from a single blood specimen within three to five hours.

"By testing one blood sample for five yeast pathogens — and getting results within a few hours — physicians can initiate appropriate anti-fungal treatment earlier, and potentially reduce patient illness and decrease the risk of dying from these infections,"

Read more
FDA Clears T2 Bio Test, System for Identification of Yeast Pathogens'

T2Biosystems web page 

Source: Genome web

Friday, February 26, 2016

I Love My Hematology Analyzer

True love of a laboratory scientist

Source: Twitter by @synonyme

Comparison between conventional and automated techniques for blood grouping and crossmatching

The routine immunohematological tests can be performed by automated as well as manual techniques. These techniques have advantages and disadvantages inherent to them. The present study aims to compare the results of manual and automated techniques for blood grouping and crossmatching so as to validate the automated system effectively.

A total of 1000 samples were subjected to blood grouping by the conventional tube technique (CTT) and the automated microplate LYRA system on Techno TwinStation. A total of 269 samples (multitransfused patients and multigravida females) were compared for 927 crossmatches by the CTT in indirect antiglobulin phase against the column agglutination technique (CAT) performed on Techno TwinStation.

For blood grouping, the study showed a concordance in results for 942/1000 samples (94.2%), discordance for 4/1000 (0.4%) samples and uninterpretable result for 54/1000 samples (5.4%). On resolution, the uninterpretable results reduced to 49/1000 samples (4.9%) with 951/1000 samples (95.1%) showing concordant results. For crossmatching, the automated CAT showed concordant results in 887/927 (95.6%) and discordant results in 3/927 (0.32%) crossmatches as compared to the CTT. Total 37/927 (3.9%) crossmatches were not interpretable by the automated technique.

The automated system shows a high concordance of results with CTT and hence can be brought into routine use. However, the high proportion of uninterpretable results emphasizes on the fact that proper training and standardization are needed prior to its use.

Read more:
Comparison between conventional and automated techniques for blood grouping and crossmatching: Experience from a tertiary care centre Bhagwat SN

Source: Journal of Laboratory Physics

Wearing E. coli

Real scientists wear E. coli earrings

Read more:
Bacterium earrings

Source: Etsy by NBDesign

Understanding the role of human polyomaviruses in cancer

Human polyomaviruses are commonly found in the population and generallydo not produce  noticeable symptoms. However, one type of human polyomavirus, the Merkel cell polyomavirus, is known to cause a rare form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma, and other members of the polyomavirus family can induce non-cancer related diseases in people with compromised immune systems. To determine whether other members of the polyomavirus might be associated with cancer development, Yuan Chang and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center developed a new method to screen tumor samples for the presence of any human polyomavirus. As reported in this month's issue of JCI Insight, the researcher's screening protocol relied on a cocktail of antibodies that can recognize a specific protein expressed by all polyomaviruses.
They screened over 1,000 tumor samples, including cases of lung carcinoma, bladder carcinoma, brain tumors, colon cancer, breast cancer, and malignant melanoma. Their study found no evidence for the involvement of human polyomaviruses in the development of these cancers and helps to resolve questions in the field about whether viruses related to Merkel cell polyomavirus contribute to cancer. Their technique will also be valuable in studying other diseases in which polyomaviruses are suspected to play a role. 

Read more:
Survey for human polyomaviruses in cancer

Source: JCL insight

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Blood Cell Flower

Beautiful 3D science animations.

Illustrations, 3d animations and multimedia about medical, bitechnology, mechanisms of action and popular science. Do not matters the complexity of ideas, graphic concepts to convey or its scale, it can be visible and understandable to a much wider audience. Furthermore, this can be achieved joining visual impact and aesthetics with accuracy and clearly. At most cases than this requires decipt the invisible or the inaccessible.

Read more:

 Source: 3Dciencia

New Microfluidic Blood-draw Device Could Replace Needle Sticks

Tasso is revolutionizing diagnostics by creating technologies for blood sample collection that place the user at the center of process. Our wearable blood collection system, the HemoLinkTM, is being developed to improve the user experience as well as enable both healthcare consumers and providers with convenient access to reliable laboratory test results.

In a process known as “capillary action,” HemoLink leverages microfluidics to create a slight vacuum that pulls blood from capillaries though tiny channels in the skin into a small tube, noted a Gizmag report. The device collects 0.15 cubic centimeters of blood, which is enough to test for cholesterol, infections, cancer cells, blood sugar and other conditions.

Pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals will be watching the eventual launch of HemoLink to learn how its developers have overcome the problems affecting lab test accuracy that can be caused by the interstitial fluid that often accompanies capillary blood when such specimens are collected. How the lab test technology used by Theranos addresses this same problem has been an ongoing point of interest among medical laboratory professionals.

Read more:
New Microfluidic Blood-draw Device Could Replace Needle Sticks and Venipunctures at Medical Laboratories

Source: Dark Daily

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Automation in Laboratory

Automation is here and there is nothing we can do. Here are some examples by MLO.

Copan USA’s WASPLab
WASPLab, a sophisticated barcode-driven Microbiology specimen processor
and work-up system, connects with WASPDT using a conveyor track.

Hologic’s ThinPrep Pap TestThe ThinPrep 5000 Processor and ThinPrep 5000 with Autoloader System from Hologic automate cytology slide processing.

Hologic’s Panther SystemThe fully automated Panther system from Hologic streamlines testing with true sample-to-result automation.

LGP Consulting’s KapSafe-mini Automated Tube RecapperThe KapSafe-mini is a small bench-top automated recapping solution
designed for a variety of single racks that eliminates the need to
manually recap multiple sample tube sizes from 12 to 16 mm in diameter
and from 75 to 100 mm in height.

Yaskawa Motoman’s AutoSorter 1200
The AutoSorter 1200 is Yaskawa Motoman’s newest high-speed sorting instrument for pre- and post-analytic specimen processing.

Beckman Coulter’s Power Express

Read more:
Product Focus Automation 

Source: MLO

Patient Has Pneumonia? Think Legionellosis

During 2000–2011, passive surveillance for legionellosis in the United States demonstrated a 249% increase in crude incidence, although little was known about the clinical course and method of diagnosis. In 2011, a system of active, population-based surveillance for legionellosis was instituted through CDC’s Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs) program. Overall disease rates were similar in both the passive and active systems, but more complete demographic information and additional clinical and laboratory data were only available from ABCs. ABCs data during 2011–2013 showed that approximately 44% of patients with legionellosis required intensive care, and 9% died. Disease incidence was higher among blacks than whites and was 10 times higher in New York
than California. Laboratory data indicated a reliance on urinary antigen testing, which only detects Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lp1). ABCs data highlight the severity of the disease, the need to better understand racial and regional differences, and the need for better diagnostic testing to detect infections.

Read more:
Patient Has Pneumonia? Think Legionellosis

Source: MedScape

Influenza viruses can hide from the immune system

Influenza is able to mask itself, so that the virus is not initially detected by our immune system. This is the result of new research from Aarhus University. The researchers behind the study hope that the discovery can be used to develop better treatment against influenza and chronic inflammation conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Some years ago researchers discovered that the immune system can already track viruses and alert the body as soon as a virus enters human cells to multiply. But new research now reveals that the influenza virus cheats the mechanism and is thus able to circumvent the body's advanced defence system.

"The virus contains a protein that masks the virus entering the cell. In this way, the influenza virus can spread more easily before the immune system recognises that it is a virus and attempts to fight it," says Associate Professor Christian Holm from the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University.''

Together with Professor Søren R. Paludan, he has headed the research project, which has also comprised contributions from other researchers at Aarhus University and from a number of American universities. Their discovery has recently been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Read more:
Influenza virus can hide from the immune system

Source: Aarhus University

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Flow Cytometry Finds Prostate Cancer

Flow cytometry is making it possible for researchers to detect prostate cancer with a single drop of blood.

Hon Leong, PhD, assistant professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute, and his team have repurposed a machine once used to detect airborne pathogens in the second Gulf War. The machine is now used for fluid biopsies – a non-invasive way to detect prostate microparticles in the blood in a matter of minutes. Microparticles are essentially garbage released by prostate cells that circulate throughout the bloodstream.

Leong’s research provides a more accurate and less invasive testing method for patients suspected of having prostate cancer, and helps to identify patients who are at a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer.

“Our findings point to a new direction in how we can better identify patients who actually have prostate cancer,” said Leong. “With this test, we can improve the clinical outcomes for patients, reducing costs for unnecessary procedures and reducing errors in diagnosis.”

Read more:
Detecting prostate cancer with a drop of blood and Gulf War technology

Source: Media Relations

I am a laboratory scientist

The best profession in the world <3

Drop-to-Drop Variation in the Cellular Components of Fingerprick Blood

Blood obtained via fingerprick is commonly used in point-of-care assays, but few studies have assessed variability in parameters obtained from successive drops of fingerprick blood, which may cause problems for clinical decision making and for assessing accuracy of point-of-care tests.

A study used a hematology analyzer to analyze the hemoglobin concentration, total WBC count, three-part WBC differential, and platelet count in six successive drops of blood collected from one fingerprick from each of 11 donors, and we used a hemoglobinometer to measure the hemoglobin concentration of 10 drops of fingerprick blood from each of 7 donors.

The average percent coefficient of variation (CV) for successive drops of fingerprick blood was higher by up to 3.4 times for hemoglobin, 5.7 times for WBC count, 3 times for lymphocyte count, 7.7 times for granulocyte count, and 4 times for platelets than in venous controls measured using a hematology analyzer. The average percent CV for fingerprick blood was up to 5 times higher for hemoglobin than venous blood measured using a point-of-care hemoglobinometer. Fluctuations in blood parameters with increasing volume of fingerprick blood are within instrument variability for volumes equal to or greater than 60 to 100 μL.

These data suggest caution when using measurements from a single drop of fingerprick blood.

Read more:
Drop-to-Drop Variation in the Cellular Components of Fingerprick Blood

Source: American Journal of Clinical Pathology

Monday, February 22, 2016

Lab Cat Screening

I just love mouse cytology

Source: Cranbrook Veterinary Hospital for Dogs and Cats, located in Cranbrook, BC.

The Color of Urine

Urinalysis begins with a macroscopic examination for color and clarity of the urine. In healthy individuals, urine color ranges from pale yellow to amber, depending on the state of hydration. Many factors can affect urine color including fluid balance, diet, medications and disease. The following table summarizes the most common causes of abnormal urine coloration.

Read more:
The Color of Urine 

(Click image to enlarge)

Source: ClinLab Navigator


Laboratory humour...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kissing disease

This patient is definitely infected by Epstein-Barr virus.

Source: Facebook by Selma Selsabil

Dissolvable electronics monitor health inside the body and then melts away

From the folds and crinkles of a living brain, a fleeting fleck of electronics smaller than a grain of rice can wirelessly relay critical health information and then gently fade away.

The transient sensors, which can measure pressure, temperature, pH, motion, flow, and potentially specific biomolecules, stand to permanently improve patient care, researchers said. With a wireless, dissolving sensor, doctors could ditch the old versions that require tethering patients to medical equipment and performing invasive surgery to remove, which adds risks of infections and complications to already vulnerable patients.

The devices can also be customized with different types of sensors and coatings. The thicker the coating, the longer they take to dissolve, Murphy explained. The current versions can last for a few days in biofluids, including cerebrospinal fluid, at physiological temperature. But, Murphy said, the researchers are hoping to make versions that can last for weeks.

Read more:
In a brain, dissolvable electronics monitor health and then vanish 

Source: Ars Technica

Birthday cake for a laboratory scientist

Wonderful piece  of art by Fantasy Biscuit

Source: fantasybiscuit

New Blood Test for Active Tuberculosis

The new test developed in the Khatri lab works on an ordinary blood sample and removes the need to collect sputum. It can signal a TB infection even if the individual also has HIV. And it won’t give a positive response if someone only has latent TB or has had a TB vaccine. It also doesn’t matter which strain of TB has infected a person, or even if it has evolved resistance to antibiotic drugs. The test works in both adults and children.

WHO has called for a test that would give a positive result at least 66 percent of the time when a child has active TB. The Khatri test is 86 percent sensitive in children. And if the test comes up negative, it’s right 99 percent of the time. That is, of 100 patients who test negative with the Khatri test, 99 do not have active TB.

When pathogens infect the cells of the body, the infection sets off a chain reaction that changes the expression of hundreds of human genes. Khatri’s team identified three human genes whose expression changes in a consistent pattern, revealing the presence of an active tuberculosis
infection. The team validated the new three-gene test in a separate set of 1,400 human samples from 11 different data sets, confirming the diagnostic power of the test.

The new test not only accurately distinguishes patients who have active tuberculosis, it could also be used to monitor patients to see if they are getting better and how well they are responding to different

The requirements of the test are simple enough that it can potentially be done under relatively basic field conditions in rural and undeveloped areas of the world. Any hospital should be able to perform the test. Villages without electricity could likely use ordinary blood samples and a solar-powered PCR machine, which multiplies strands of DNA, to accurately test people for active TB.

Read more:
Blood test could transform tuberculosis diagnosis, help monitor treatment effectiveness

Source: News Center |Stanford Medicine

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Preanalytical Nightmare, Part 2

At least they remembered to lable the urine sample. Shame the lable is on the inside of the container.

Source: Facebook
Image credits: Meghann Bruce-Merrie

Adorable Crocheted Chemistry Set

Lauren Espy is so excited to share this with all of you! Her wonderful little chemistry set made its debut at the art show. She was so freakin nervous but everyone seemed to love it. This little set is staying with her but don't worry, she'll be making a few pieces and adding them to the Etsy shop.

Read more:
Guys! I am only a one woman show and can only crochet so much at a time.

Source: Istagram by amenagerieofstitches

Yes I know it is forbitten, but I will never take it away....

Nice lab safety issue :)
I bet most of the lab scientist would like to have this kind of problem.

Source: Twitter by @madi_mayrose

Tissue Theme

A perfect set of cups for a laboratory scientist working at histology lab.

Read more:
Histology Cup and Saucer

Source: Anatomy Boutique

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sickle cell disease: challenges and progress

Despite a long history of knowing the genetic cause of sickle cell disease (SCD), progress in developing treatments to prevent painful vaso-occlusive crises and the other myriad of associated symptoms has, until recently, been disappointingly slow. As long ago as 1949, Pauling et al described sickle cell anemia as a molecular disease, with two other groups convincingly describing it as an inherited disorder. Details of the mutation (replacement of glutamic acid with valine in the 6th position of the hemoglobin [Hb] β-chain) were first described by Ingram in 1956. Despite these early discoveries, the life expectancy of sickle cell patients only began to improve significantly within the last 30 years, first with the introduction of prophylactic penicillin V in the 1980s, followed by more aggressive blood transfusions, and in 1998, with the introduction of hydroxyurea as a mainstay of treatment. Beyond the mutation of Hb as the cause of SCD, Hebbel et al initiated a new era of research in 1980 by introducing the concept that sickle red blood cells (RBCs) are abnormally adhesive. Many subsequent studies from Hebbel et al and others led to the realization that not only sickle RBCs but other blood cells, especially leukocytes and platelets, are activated and have the potential to contribute to vaso-occlusive crises. This is a backdrop for the current review series. Over the last few years, our understanding of the complexities of cellular, plasma, and genetic contributors to the various symptoms of SCD has accelerated. New drugs and genetic cures are on the horizon. In this review series, five leading groups provide updates on important aspects of SCD.

  • Neutrophils, platelets, and inflammatory pathways at the nexus of sickle cell disease pathophysiology 
  • Beyond hydroxyurea: new and old drugs in the pipeline for sickle cell disease 
  • Pathophysiology and treatment of pulmonary hypertension in sickle cell disease 
  • Central nervous system complications and management in sickle cell disease 
  • Genetic treatment of a molecular disorder: gene therapy approaches to sickle cell disease

Read more:
Sickle cell disease: challenges and progress

Source: Blood Journal

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Blood Culture Panel Identifies Faster Pathogens in Children

The FilmArray blood culture identification panel (BioFireDiagnostics) can improve clinical management of hospitalized children with bacteremia, according to UK researchers.

In a January 21 online paper in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Stephen T.J. Ray of the University of Liverpool and colleagues note that identification often relies on microbial growth, which can take up to 24 hours. Definitive results may not be available for as long as 72 hours after the blood culture is first identified as being positive. This can lead to inadequate or unnecessary antimicrobial therapy.

The FilmArray is an automated multiplex polymerase chain reaction system. It has targets for 24 common pathogens, including Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, species of Candida, and antimicrobial resistance genes.

In this study for the majority of children, clinical decisions could be made within 24 hours of blood cultures being taken (the median time to positive blood culture was 15 hours plus one hour of turnaround time).

In the current study, she pointed out that use of the FilmArray encouraged the discontinuation of antibiotics for patients with organisms thought to be contaminants and encouraged clinicians "to change antibiotic therapy to an agent that would optimize treatment of the bacteria recovered earlier than would have happened had traditional culture and susceptibility testing been used."

Read more:
Blood Culture Panel Swiftly Identifies Pathogens in Children

Source: MedScape
Image: FilmArray

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gram negative can be quite positive sometimes

Lovely heart of gram negative bacteria found in Valentine`s Day evening
by Shannon Sweere

Source: Facebook
Image credits: Shannon Sweere

Dying Epithelial Cells Regulate the Immune System

A University of Tsukuba-based research team has shown that commensal bacteria in the gut can induce dendritic cells to release interferon-ß, which promotes Treg cell proliferation. However, apoptotic epithelial cells can inhibit this path through phosphatidylserine on their surfaces, which interacts with CD300a on dendritic cells and stops their production of interferon-ß. In this way, apoptotic epithelial cells can modulate the level of Treg cells.

This latest work builds on previous studies that have shown that beneficial bacteria, known as commensals, can modulate tissue status, including the effect they have on Treg cells. These cells are known to regulate immune activity, but details on this mechanism have never been clear. This issue is especially significant at barrier surfaces, such as in the gastrointestinal tract, where large numbers of epithelial cells detach and die via apoptosis. Prior to this study, it had also been unclear whether these dying cells had any particular effects.

Through a range of experiments, the research group showed that these dying, or apoptotic, cells in fact work to suppress proliferation of Treg cells. This is normally promoted by beneficial bacteria in the gut. The group also specifically identified the molecules involved—information that could be useful for treating diseases in which Treg cells are involved or are dysfunctional.

Read more:
Dying Epithelial Cells Regulate the Immune System: Finding Could Aid Treatment of Inflammatory and Allergic Diseases

Source: Alpha Galileo

Toxoplasma gondii can break the blood-brain barrier

Scientists have known for many years that T. gondii can affect the brain, even influencing the behavior of its hosts. However, some have debated the exact mechanisms of how the parasite crosses the blood-brain barrier, a physical obstacle intended to keep pathogens out of the brain.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, along with colleagues from across the country, have identified how the parasite makes its way into the brain. Using a powerful imaging technique that allowed the scientists to track the presence and movement of parasites in living tissues, the researchers found that Toxoplasma infects the brain's endothelial cells, which line blood vessels, reproduces inside of them, and then moves on to invade the central nervous system.

Read more:
The Parasites that Break the Blood-Brain Barrier 

 Source: GEN News

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Doctors 3D-print living body parts

Custom-made, living body parts have been 3D-printed in a significant advance for regenerative medicine, say scientists.

The Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System - or Itop - combines a bio-degradeable plastic which gives the structure and a water-based gel which contains the cells and encourages them to grow. When the structures were implanted into animals, the plastic broke down as it was replaced by a natural, structural "matrix" of proteins produced by the cells. Meanwhile, blood vessels and nerves grew into the implants. Prof Anthony Atala, the lead researcher, said tissues could now be printed on a human scale.

The breakthrough, published in Nature Biotechnology, raises the hope of using living tissues to repair the body.

Read more:
Doctors 3D-print 'living' body parts

Source: BBC News

Paenibacillus vortex

It is certainly marvellous to watch them grow in a petri dish <3

Read more:
Mushroom Farmer Ph: Paenibacillus vortex. 

Source: Instagram via Mushroom Farmer Ph
Image: Bryan Bedder

Automated Retest Interval Rejection Rule for CRP

Repeat serum C-reactive protein (CRP) measurements on the same day or on consecutive days are of limited clinical value. Minimum retesting intervals are recommended for managing unnecessary repeat testing. As not previously reported, we studied the effect of minimum retesting interval test rejection on laboratory workload and expenditure and on clinician-requesting behaviour.

In a prospective study, we evaluated the effect of an automated 48 h CRP minimum retesting interval rule on inpatient and outpatient CRP workload and costs. Control data on inpatient and outpatient serum urea and electrolytes (UE) workload were collected during the study.

Over 1 year, there was a 7.0% and 12.3% decrease in CRP requests and CRP tests analysed, respectively, following the introduction of the minimum retesting interval rule when compared to the 1 year baseline period. This equated to an estimated annual reduction in revenue costs of £10 500, but cash savings in consumable costs of £3000. There was no significant change in UE requests.

This study group reported, for the first time, that automated minimum retesting interval rejection rules as a stand-alone strategy are a cheap and sustainable method for reducing unnecessary repeat CRP tests, resulting in small laboratory cash savings, more efficient use of laboratory resources and standardisation of patient care pathways. The minimum retesting interval rejection rule also altered clinician test-requesting behaviour towards more appropriate requesting.

Read more:
An automated minimum retest interval rejection rule reduces repeat CRP workload and expenditure, and influences clinician-requesting behaviour.

Source: Journal of Clinical Pathology

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is now a general consensus that RA has a spectrum of disease stages that can begin many years before the onset of clinical symptoms. It is widely thought that understanding the complex interplay between genetics and environment, and their role in pathogenesis, is essential in gaining further insight into the mechanisms that drive disease development and progression. More than 100 genetic susceptibility loci have now been identified for RA through studies that have focused on patients with established RA compared with healthy controls. Studying the early preclinical phases of disease will provide valuable insights into the biological events that precede disease and could potentially identify biomarkers to predict disease onset and future therapeutic targets. In this review we will cover recent advances in the knowledge of genetic and environmental risk factors and speculate on how these factors may influence the transition from one stage of disease to another.

Read more:
The Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Source: Medscape

Progress in fighting cancer and infections with T cell therapy

The quest to bring immunotherapy into widespread clinical use against cancer and infectious diseases has made great strides in recent years. For example, clinical trials of adoptive T cell therapy are yielding highly promising results. The latest progress is being reported at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

T cell immunity has evolved to recognize and respond to health threats and provide a lifelong memory that prevents recurrent disease. However, with chronic diseases, reactive T cells often become inactive or even disappear. Recent advances have brought the idea of fighting chronic infections, and even cancers, by restoring protective T cell responses much closer to reality.

The main focus of the AAAS 2016 session "Fighting Cancer and Chronic Infections with T Cell Therapy: Promise and Progress" is on adoptive T cell therapy, in which a patient receives "killer" immune cells that target a disease-associated molecule. Several obstacles have stood in the way of widespread clinical use: identifying or generating T cells that will be most effective for each individual case, whether from the patient or from a suitable donor; avoiding or countering potential
side-effects; and finding ways to shorten the path from bench to bedside. Progress is being reported on all three fronts, including data from the first clinical trials.

Read more:
Progress in fighting cancer and infections with T cell therapy 

Source: EurekAlert! Science News

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Can falling in love be considered as a preanalytical risk factor for laboratory tests?

What happens when we fall in love? The most common symptoms known to the lovesick are racing heartbeats, nervousness, obsessive focus and loss of appetite. We can say that our body is going through many changes and it is far away from "normal" state.

Read more:
Saint Valentine`s Day - Labquality

Source: Labquality
Image credits: Minna Varhala

Saint Valentine Cytogram

I think these T-Cells are trying to tell you Happy Valentine's Day!

by  Jeff Hebert

Image credits: Jeff Hebert

Unicorn for Valentine´s Day

Happy Valentine´s Day
by i heart histo

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Vaginal unicorne 

Source: i heart histo

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Leukocytes

These very cute leukocytes made me smile :)

Source: Biomedicina Padrão
Image credits: Libby Lamb 

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