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Diagnostic technology

Diagnostic technology involves tests, assays and equipment that allow clinical labs to diagnose diseases. New diagnostic technologies are currently transforming both infectious disease testing and cancer testing. Rapid molecular tests, for example, make it possible for medical labs to deliver an accurate answer back to a referring physician in just hours—compared to the several days that are required for most long-standing microbiology test procedures.

Even more disruptive technologies include digital pathology and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Digital pathology is an image-based information environment that is enabled by computer technology to allow for the management of information generated from a digital slide. Digital pathology is enabled in part by virtual microscopy, which is the practice of converting glass slides into digital slides that can be viewed, managed, and analyzed on a computer monitor. With the advent of Whole-Slide Imaging, the field of digital pathology has exploded and is currently regarded as one of the most promising avenues of diagnostic medicine in order to achieve even better, faster and cheaper diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of cancer and other important diseases.

MALDI-TOF (matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight) mass spectrometry allows clinical laboratories to identify small aerobic gram-positive bacilli more accurately, faster, and in a more cost-effective manner than ever. It enables the analysis of biomolecules (biopolymers such as DNA, proteins, peptides and sugars) and large organic molecules (such as polymers, dendrimers and other macromolecules), which tend to be fragile and fragment when ionized by more conventional ionization methods.

Even as pathologists are working to develop more sensitive and accurate diagnostic tests for cancer, similar efforts are underway in radiology and imaging. In fact, one research team has developed a self-assembling nanoparticle that can adhere to cancer cells, thus making them visible in MRI scans and possibly eliminate the need for invasive tissue biopsies.

Researchers have developed a self-assembling nanoparticle that targets cancer cells and makes them visible on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The new nanoparticle improves MRI scanning efficacy by “specifically seeking out receptors that are found in cancerous cells,” according to researchers. Were this development to become a reality, it has the potential to alter anatomic pathology’s role in diagnosing cancer.

Might Lawsuits Come Next in Theranos Story?

CEO SUMMARY: Recent disclosures in the news indicate that an agreement between Theranos and Safeway has gone sour— after Safeway spent a third of a billion dollars to fulfill its part of the collaboration! Reporting by The Wall Street Journal c…

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WSJ ‘Sticks’ Theranos, Raises Serious Questions

CEO SUMMARY: Following months of investigation, reporter John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal published back-to-back reports about aspects of Theranos that the…

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Lab Professionals Knew of Challenges at Theranos

CEO SUMMARY: For most of the past year, pathologists and medical laboratory professionals in the San Francisco and Phoenix markets were aware that Theranos was not delivering to patients and consumers the specific lab testing services it regularly touted in news stories and at conferences…

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Will 2016 Bring Opportunity or Tribulations for Labs?

WE ARE JUST ABOUT EIGHT WEEKS FROM THE ADVENT OF 2016. Given the rapid transformation of healthcare that continues to unfold, it is timely to assess how clinical labs and pathology groups are likely to fare during the coming year. On the plus side, the ongoing evolution toward integration of clinica…

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Theranos, Capital Blue Sign Lab Test Agreement

CEO SUMMARY: With each passing month, Theranos is looking more like a traditional clinical laboratory company, based on how it is expanding its patient service center network and courier/logistics system into different regions while pursuing managed care contracts with health ins…

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Opko Pays $1.47 Billion to Buy Bio-Reference Lab

CEO SUMMARY: It’s a case of the little fish gobbling the big fish, as Opko Health – with revenue of $91 million – will be acquiring Bio-Reference Laboratories, with revenue of $832 million. But the more interesting aspect of the story is that the CEO of Opko Health is a physi…

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What’s New at Theranos? Lab Firm Expands in AZ

CEO SUMMARY: Over the past 18 months, Theranos has taken steps to enter the clinical lab marketplace. Across Greater Phoenix, Theranos now has specimen collection centers in about 40 Walgreens pharmacies. It is opening a CLIA lab facility in Scottsdale. Now that it is delivering…

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Theranos: Many Questions, but Very Few Answers

CEO SUMMARY: Winston Churchill famously said that “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” That description could apply to Theranos, the company that claims it is poised to disrupt the entire clinical laboratory testing industry. In Phoenix, where Theranos is r…

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Theranos: Many Questions, but Very Few Answers

WHEN A COMPANY THAT GOES PUBLIC WITH ITS GOALS, regularly and repeatedly declaring its lofty ambitions to do good for mankind by disrupting the status quo and replacing it with something new and wonderful, it invites itself to be judged by its actions and what it actually delivers. Since Thera…

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Leveraging Testing Technology To Identify MRSA, C. Difficile

CEO SUMMARY: Probably the most challenging infections for hospitals to control and reduce are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). The laboratory at one New York hospital introduced algorithms to screen for the presence of each i…

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