November 6, 2006 “Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

There’s regulatory relief for California labs in the important area of technical staff licensing. California’s Department of Health Services (DHS) has approved the Board of Registry medical technologist (MT) examination administered by the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as meeting the California clinical laboratory scientist (CLS) licensure requirements. The approval is effective on October 1, 2006 and was publicly announced by ASCP on November 1, 2006.

MORE ON: CA MT License

This new decision will help ease the acute shortage of med techs faced by almost all laboratories in California. It is now possible for ASCP-certified med techs to work in California without having to take the state’s CLS licensing exam. Individuals will need only to submit an application for state licensure, along with appropriate documentation of professional status.

$10 MILLION “X PRIZE”: MAP 100 FULL GENOMES IN JUST 10 DAYS

To accelerate advances in DNA research that sup- port personalized medicine, the X Prize Foundation of Washington, DC, announced a new scientific prize on October 4. It will award a $10 million prize to the first team that successfully maps 100 human genomes in just 10 days. As an added bonus, the team can win an additional $1 million if it is willing to decode the genes of another 100 people, who will include donors to the prize and celebrities.

ADD TO: DNA Prize

The goal of this prize is to encourage the development of technology that speeds up the process of mapping the human genome while reducing the cost to accomplish this task. Most existing methods depend on a basic chemistry process known as Sanger sequencing, developed almost two decades ago. Organizers at the X Prize Foundation observe that researchers and companies will have to invent new technologies to accomplish the feat of mapping the genomes of 100 people in
only 10 days. On the other hand, they believe the prize can be claimed in less than five years. Laboratory man- agers and pathologists under- stand the implications of this prize. Should the technology of gene sequencing reach the target level of productivity and cost encouraged by the X Prize, it will greatly accelerate advances in genetic medicine and the use of molecular diagnostics by more clinicians.

UNION STRIKE THREAT AT UK BLOOD SERVICE

Laboratory consolidation has been a reality in North America for more than a decade. But politics continue to prevent proposed lab consolidation efforts in the United Kingdom (UK). Recently the NHS (National Health Service) announced plans to consolidate 14 blood centers into three sites during the next five years. Immediately, Amicus, a union representing employees of the blood service, declared that it would “ballot for industrial action [strike]” in opposition to the consolidation plans. Such labor actions regularly block efforts to re-engineer and consolidate laboratory organizations in the UK.

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