July 7, 2008 “Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

GI Pathology, PLLC, of Memphis, Tennessee, announced that it has contracted to be a national gastrointestinal (GI) pathology laboratory provider with CIGNA HealthCare of Hartford, Connecticut. It also has a five year, national provider contract with UnitedHeathCare.

SPENDING CUTS ADVERSELY AFFECT CANADIAN LABS

Widely-publicized errors in pathology services have caught the attention of the Canadian public. Pathologist Kenneth Pritzker, M.D., recently told an inquiry into problems with breast cancer testing in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador that deep spending cuts by the national health service have made it difficult for pathology labs to function properly. Pritzker is the chief pathologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Health system spending cuts made 20 years ago are still being felt, he noted, adding that these cuts came just as demand increased for more pathology services and better quality services.

CANCER-DETECTING MICROCHIP UNVEILED

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston used a microchip-based device to detect and analyze tumor cells in the bloodstream and the genetic signature of lung tumors. The analysis allows researchers to identify the cells most appropriate for targeted treatment and to monitor genetic changes during therapy. Called the CTC-chip, the device is the subject of a research article to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine (JAMA) on July 24.

ADD TO: Cancer Chip

This research generated so much interest that JAMA published the results early by posting the study on-line. “The CTC-chip opens up a whole new field of studying tumors in real time,” explained Daniel Haber, M.D., MGH’s senior author of the study. “When the device is ready for larger clinical trials, it should give us new options for measuring treatment response, defining prognostic and predictive measures, and studying the biology of blood-borne metastasis.”

TRANSITIONS

  • Exiqon Inc., of Vedbaik, Denmark, announced the appointment of Cynthia K. French, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer. French has held positions at Affymetrix, Specialty Laboratories, and Quest Diagnostics. Also joining Exiquon is Erik Holmlin, Ph.D., who will be Chief Commercial Officer. Holmlin was a founder of GeneOhm, and comes to Exiqon from BD Diagnostics. French and Holmlin will work at Exiqon’s Oncotech division, in Tustin, California.

Dark Daily Update

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

…how Sonic HealthCare, Ltd., has entered the Hawaii market by acquiring Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii. Announced last week, Sonic noted that the purchase price will be approximately $121 million.

You can get the free DARK Daily e-briefings by signing up at www.darkdaily.com.

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