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The following is a review of diagnostics related medical research worldwide

The information is updated the first week of every month - so ... make this a regular stop in your information gathering activities.

The following information has been compiled from publicly available Sources, StratCom does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or the authenticity of the information and StratCom cannot be held liable for errors.

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Research News for April 1997

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Oh and Athersys, Inc. have developed the first artificial human chromosomes. The synthetic chromosomes produced in the study, published in the April issue of Nature Genetics, represent a breakthrough in medical research and provide scientists with a powerful new tool for the study of human genetics. Artificial chromosomes may also offer a new approach to gene therapy and the treatment of a broad range of genetic diseases. The chromosomes were created from normal human material using a bottom-up, combinatorial approach. For information: George Stamatis, Director, Public Affairs, of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 216-368-3635, or Gil Van Bokkelen, Ph.D., or John Harrington, Ph.D., of Athersys, Inc., 216-231-9911

Northfield Laboratories Inc. has begun Phase III trials of its blood substitute, PolyHeme. Surgical patients will be infused with six units of PolyHeme, Northfield's proprietary blood substitute. The six-unit level (3 liters containing 300 grams of hemoglobin) represents approximately 60% of an adult's entire blood volume.

A group of Indiana and Ohio clinicians have shown that close monitoring of blood glucose during initiation of clozapine treatment for refractory psychosis is warranted in patients with diabetes or a family history of diabetes.
Source: The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1997;58:108-111.

Spanish investigators have reported that elevated levels of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in pleural effusions is not a fail-safe marker of malignancy. They found elevated levels CEA, above 10 ng/mL, in 47% of pleural effusions from patients with malignancy. They also found high levels of CEA in 9% of pleural effusions from patients with benign disease.
Source: Chest 1997;111:643-647.

The US NIH is urging doctors to offer genetic cystic fibrosis tests to everyone considering having a baby. It was the first time a panel such as this has backed population-wide testing for a genetic disease. Other genetic tests are recommended for people known to be at high risk for a specific inherited disease such as Tay-Sachs.

The gene was discovered in 1989. The test is already commercially available, and costs $50 to $150. CF is more common among Caucasians of Northern European descent and Jews of East European origin than among blacks and Asians.

Research has shown that the baseline plasma concentration of C-reactive protein predicts the risk of future myocardial infarction and stroke. In addition, the ability of aspirin to reduce the risk of first myocardial infarction appears to be directly related to the level of C-reactive protein. Baseline C-reactive protein levels were higher in patients who later developed myocardial infarction or ischemic stroke, but not venous thrombosis, compared with levels in those who did not experience vascular events.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine 1997;336:973-979,1014-1015.

CRP can also predict disease progression in women with early knee osteoarthritis. Research data demonstrate that a low-grade acute-phase inflammatory response in early osteoarthritis is associated with progression of radiologic disease, especially cartilage loss.
Source Arthritis & Rheumatism 1997;40:723-727.

Israeli researchers have shown that urine samples collected from a disposable diaper is as reliable a technique for diagnosing urinary tract infection in infants as suprapubic aspiration and catheterization. Urine cultures obtained from diaper samples were in agreement with those obtained by suprapubic aspiration or catheterization in 95% of cases.
Source: The Journal of Family Practice 1997;44:290-292.

Swedish researchers report that C-reactive protein determination is a better indicator of infectious endocarditis than erythrocyte sedimentation rate, leukocyte count, and thrombocyte count. A study of 89 patients with infectious endocarditis showed that C-reactive protein levels were normal in only 4% of patients and normal results were obtained for sedimentation rates in 28% of these patients, for leukocyte counts - 36%, and for thrombocyte counts - 56%.
Source: Infection 1997;25:82-85.

An elevated level of free testosterone in women may be a risk factor for coronary atherosclerosis. Sex hormone levels were measured in 60 postmenopausal women who underwent coronary angiography. Multiple regression analysis with the degree of coronary artery disease showed that free testosterone and cholesterol were significantly related to the degree of coronary artery disease.
Source: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 1997;17:695-701.

Serum carboxyterminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen (P1CP) appears to be a useful tool for predicting bone metastases in prostate cancer patients. Investigators at Urawa and Keio University observed that serum levels of P1CP and alkaline phosphatase were significantly elevated in patients who had positive bone scans compared with negative scans.
Source: Journal of Urology 1997;157:1736-1739.

A multidrug-resistant strain of Salmonella -- serotype typhimurium,(DT104), which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has recently been identified in the US. Investigators at the CDC report that S. typhimurium was the second most commonly reported Salmonella serotype in 1995. The DT 104 isolate is resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracycline. Resistance to fluoroquinolones has not yet been observed in the US.
Source: the CDC MMW Report 1997;45:308-309.

Clinical research indicates that peripheral blood stem cell transplantation is associated with a faster hematologic recovery, in patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy for solid tumors or lymphomas, compared with autologous bone marrow transplantation, and provides better cost-effectiveness ratios.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine 1997;126:600-607.

US tests have shown that the FiltraCheck-UTI by Meridian Diagnostics, Inc., a rapid calorimetric filter method for the detection of urinary tract infections in children has a relatively high cost and low specificity. The study concludes that the urine dipstick and conventional urinalysis is the best approach to detect UTI in children aged 2 days to 19 years.
Source: Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal 1997;16:283-287.

Chlamydia pneumoniae is now recognized as a cause of about 10 percent of community-acquired pneumonia, with the highest incidence among the elderly. Research data showed high attack rates among confirmed and suspected cases in the three nursing homes, ranging from 44 to 68 percent. The most common manifestations included new cough, fever, sore throat, and hoarseness. The staff at one nursing home had an attack rate of 34 percent.
Source: JAMA 1997 Apr 16; 277:1214-8.

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* Research News - March 1997
* Research News - February 1997
* Research News - January 1997
* Research News - December 1996
* Research News - November 1996
* Research News - October 1996
* Research News - September 1996
* Research News - August 1996
* Research News - July 1996
* Research News - June 1996

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