August 24, 2015 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

California is always in the forefront of states doing innovative things. It announced a public-private effort to develop a clinical laboratory assay that “will enable detection of all known pathogens with a single DNA sequencing test, to diagnose acute infections in hospitalized patients.” Funding is provided by the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine. Leading the development team will be the University of California San Francisco. Collaborators will include other UC campuses and academic medical centers in California. UCSF pathologist Charles Chiu, M.D., Ph.D., led the team that submitted the proposal. It is hoped that this diagnostic test development project will deliver an assay that is available for clinical use within two to three years.

Drones To Deliver Blood Speciments?

In a proof-of-concept exercise, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine used a drone to transport blood specimens for as long as 40 minutes. The specimens were then tested in the medical laboratory to determine if transport by drone affected lab test results. The study was published in the journal PLoS One. Lead author and pathologist Timothy Kien Amukele, M.D., stated in a press release that “Such movements could have destroyed blood cells or prompted blood to coagulate and I thought all kinds of blood tests might be affected, but our study shows they weren’t, so that was cool.”

More On: Drone transport

In the study, six blood samples were collected from each of 56 healthy adult volunteers at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Half of these specimens were transported in a drone for between six and 38 minutes. All specimens were then tested for “33 of the most common laboratory tests that together account for around 80% of all such tests done.” Researchers determined that transport by drone had no discernable effect on the lab test results, compared to the control specimens.


Gregory F. Solak, 62, died of cancer on July 15 in East Amherst, New York. He was Vice President of Laboratory Services at Kaleida Health in Buffalo, New York. Solak previously held lab administration positions at several health systems in Michigan.

Dark Daily Update

Dark DailyHave you caught the latest e-briefings from DARK Daily? If so, then you’d know about…

…a new company that wants to disrupt how labs provide phlebotomy services. IGGBO of Richmond, Virginia, is emulating Uber and Lyft with a service that enables on-demand phlebotomy services. Launched in January, IGGBO claims to now operate in 19 states with a roster of 4,500 phlebotomists.

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That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, September 14, 2015.


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