August 27, 2007 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Something different is happening when the Associated Press does a story about how the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA), a lab industry trade group, has spent money lobbying Congress. The Associated Press used federal records to confirm that ACLA, paid $140,000 to Alston & Bird LLP, a law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and other cities, to lobby Congress between January 1 and June 30, 2007. On behalf of ACLA, Alston & Bird lobbied both houses of Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on direct-to-consumer issues, the federal records show. This lobbying activity reflects increased activity on bills and regulatory issues affecting laboratories, as well as ACLA’s strategy of taking a higher profile on behalf of its laboratory members


Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have identified an immune molecule that appears to affect the development of prostate cancer. Known as B7-H3, this biomarker could help predict cancer recurrence and progression after surgery. Timothy Roth, M.D., a urology resident at Mayo and lead author of the study, noted that this discovery can help physicians develop individualized treatment plans for prostate cancer patients. The findings were published in Cancer Research on August 15.

MORE ON: Prostate Biomarker

Researchers are optimistic that B7-H3 will prove useful as a diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tool. Tumor cells display B7-H3 as prostate cancers develop. The marker can still be identified even after anti-hormone therapy commences. Researchers believe that B7-H3 kills or paralyzes immune cells trying to attack the cancer. This new biomarker is an example of how molecular discoveries are providing clinicians with the ability to understand more about prostate cancer, giving them the ability differentiate cancer types, then identify the best treatment protocol for the patient.


As of press time, the $3 billion hostile take-over offer by Roche Holding AG for Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., was still unfolding. Last week, Roche won a federal court injunction to stop Ventana from using an Arizona state law to oppose the Roche offer. Roche then extended its offer to buy Ventana shares for another 30 days, through September 20.

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