“February 10, 2003 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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IMPATH, Inc. has replaced its long-time Chairman and CEO in the wake of a scandal involving expense accounts. The resignation of Anu D. Saad, Ph.D., was accepted and became effective today. In her place, IMPATH named Carter H. Eckert, an existing Director, as the new Chairman and CEO. IMPATH had conducted an accounting review of expenses submitted by Saad during the past three years. The audit revealed a “lapse of corporate integrity.” Saad will be repaying $250,000 to IMPATH, but company officials refused to provide details in this matter. This scandal is another blow to the reputation of IMPATH, which has faced scrutiny over some of its financial and billing practices in recent years.

Kudos to Managing Director Douglas Buchanan and his team at BC Biomedical Laboratories of Surrey, British Columbia. The company was recently selected as the number one company on The Globe and Mail’s “Fifty Best Companies to Work For in Canada” list. Last year the company placed number eight.

INK JET PRINTERS USED TO CREATE LIVING TISSUES

Here’s where two unrelated technologies collide and create a paradigm-shifting capability. Researchers at Clemson University and the Medical College of South Carolina (MCSC) are using modified ink jet printers to create three-dimensional tubes of living tissue. Ink cartridges are cleaned, then refilled with suspensions of cells. Software which controls the viscosity, temperature and electrical resistance of the printer is modified, as is the feed systems. The printer will then lay down alternating layers of a thermo-reversible gel and living cells. These thin layers fuse together, creating three dimensional structures of living tissue. Hamster ovary cells have been successfully used in these experiments.

MORE ON: Tissues

Researchers Vladimir Moronov of MCSC and Thomas Boland of Clemson believe this method can eventually lead to the capability of creating complex tissues, even organs. The key challenge in tissue-engineering of solid organs is how to supply ample oxygen and the nutrients required to keep all the cells alive.

Doctor’s Laboratory in Valdosta, Georgia just completed its audit to qualify for ISO-9000:2000 certification. Doctor’s Laboratory is one of the larger independent commercial laboratories still operating and earned its ISO-9000 certification in the fall of 2001.

Might laboratory medicine have more clout in Great Britain than in the United States? During the Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine meeting in London, England last week, Michael Hallworth, Chairman of the Association of Biochemists, had to leave the proceedings for several hours to attend a reception for healthcare professionals held at No. 10 Downing Street. Tony Blair, Britain’s Prime Minister, was the host and Hallworth had the opportunity to speak to him and put in a good word for laboratory testing.

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