July 3, 2006 “Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

Last Friday afternoon, it was announced that Siemens AG would acquire the diagnostics division of Bayer Healthcare. Siemens will pay $5.4 billion and the deal is expected to close in early 2007, subject to regulatory approval. Sales at Bayer Diagnostics totaled $1.8 billion in 2005. Bayer AG, the parent corporation, is currently in a battle with Merck & Co. to acquire control of Schering AG.

RAISING THE BAR FOR LAB TESTING SERVICES

Does your lab get these kinds of compliments from its patients? This was received today from a long-time fan of THE DARK REPORT, who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. “Yesterday, I had a huge number of lab tests at the Kaiser Permanente facility, an HMO I sometimes love to hate. However, you can’t beat the efficiency of their labs! Shortly after I arrived home after negotiating heavy traffic, almost all the results were online under my personal mailbox with Kaiser. The lab reports not only provide the actual test results but also explain each test in detail. Talk about efficient! Score one for Kaiser!” Note how impressed this patient was with: 1) fast test TAT; 2) results posted in her Kaiser email box; and, 3) a consumer-friendly ex- planation of each test result. This is the type of customer service that builds patient loyalty. Our compliments to the laboratory at Kaiser Northwest!

LAST CHROMOSOME IN HUMAN GENOME IS SEQUENCED

It’s another milestone in the advance of genetic medicine. A team of American and British scientists has sequenced the last chromosome in the human genome. Chromosome 1 turned out to be packed with 3,141 genes and holds 8% of the human genetic code. The sequence will be published on the Web site of the journal Nature. Researchers also identified 4,500 new SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) as part of this project. More than 350 diseases, including cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, high cholesterol and porphyria, have been linked to this chromosome, as well as a gene identified with a common form of cleft lip and palate.

ADD TO: Chromosome 1

“This achievement effectively closes the book on an important volume of the Human Genome Project,” declared Simon G. Gregory, Ph.D., who led this project team. He is Assistant Research Professor in the Section of Medical Genetics, Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical School in Durham, North Carolina. According to Gregory, researchers identified approximately 1,000 new genes on Chromosome 1 and work will now be directed at identifying what these genes do and how they interact.

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