Society News Now

Society News Now, Special Edition, February 9, 2016

 
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SPECIAL EDITION  February 9, 2016

NEW EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

The Board of Directors of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) is pleased to announce the selection of James Flanigan as ASCLS Executive Vice President to succeed Elissa Passiment, who announced her pending retirement earlier last year.

James “Jim” Flanigan, CAE comes to ASCLS from the Society of Critical Care Medicine, where he was the Director of Marketing.  He is the chief revenue officer responsible for generating nearly 80% of the Society’s gross income through program and product marketing and membership programs as well as institutional and international sales and industry relations. 

Prior to joining the SCCM staff, Jim served as Director of Marketing for the American Veterinary Medical Association where he oversaw the association’s member, market and economic research as well as the AVMA’s public education campaigns and association-wide branding.  He is a 26 year veteran of the association management profession and a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications.

He received his Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2013. 

Jim and his wife Kris have two sons.  He and his family, which includes two cats, live in Carol Stream, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago.

Jim will be joining ASCLS March 1, 2016.  Elissa will team with Jim for a yet-to-be-determined period of transition.

The Board of Directors would like to thank the EVP Search Committee for their dedication during the search process.

Of course, the Board would also like to acknowledge Elissa’s dedication during her almost 21 years of service to ASCLS as our EVP and for her prior service as a Past President and member.  Elissa stated that she is looking forward to attending a national meeting with husband Joe and having time to socialize!

Barbara Snyderman

President

Dr. Tim Randolph receives the Alumni Humanitarian Award from the University of Illinois Springfield

 

Tim Randolph UIS 2015 Humanitarian

The University of Illinois Springfield honored the significant contributions of Dr. Tim Randolph during the university’s annual Alumni Gala on Friday, November 6, 2015 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

Dr. Randolph was honored with the Alumni Humanitarian Award for significant contributions of leadership or service to improve the lives of others and the welfare of humanity.

Dr. Randolph received a bachelor’s degree in medical technology 1983. He is a tenured associate professor and chairman of the department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Doisy College of Health Sciences, at Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center. He is also founder and President of Randolph World Ministries, Inc., a medical mission ministry that establishes and develops medical services in existing clinics in Haiti.

Randolph World Ministries provides a full range of medical services to over 20 Haitian clinics by offering training, materials, consultation, and personal visits to each facility; conducting mobile clinics in remote areas of Haiti where healthcare is unavailable; developing and implementing small business start-up companies to elevate individual families and grow a local economy; providing emergency relief following natural disasters and other types of urgent needs.

Prior to his work with Randolph World Ministries, Dr. Randolph was employed as a medical technologist at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. While earning his doctorate degree from Warnborough University, he developed a new diagnostic test for sickle cell anemia to be used in developing countries – a test which earned a U.S. patent.

A bizarre case of tapeworm-derived cancer causing cancer-like tumors in a Colombian man – Behind the scene story of the lab investigation

 

A bizarre case of tapeworm-derived cancer causing cancer-like tumors in a Colombian man – Behind the scene story of the lab investigation

A bizarre case of tapeworm-derived cancer causing cancer-like tumors in a 41-year-old Colombian man has got lot of media attention recently and emphasized again the role of laboratory analysis in complex case investigations. “The key for the diagnosis of this unusual case was combined use of various laboratory techniques – conventional pathology and advanced molecular biology, and synergy among clinicians, pathologists and lab scientists to solve this mystery,” said Dr. Julu Bhatnagar, Ph.D., one of the primary authors of the report published in the November 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and Team Lead of the Molecular Pathology Section in CDC’s Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch (IDPB). http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1505892.

In 2013, doctors in Colombia asked CDC to help diagnose biopsies with strange pattern from lung tumors and lymph nodes of a HIV positive man who was non-adherent to therapy. The man presented with fatigue, fever, cough, and weight loss of several months' duration, and lung, liver and adrenal nodules and enlarged lymph nodes. “Initial histopathological analysis was very puzzling, as the growth pattern was cancer like, but the cells were about 10 times smaller than a normal human cancer cells and they were fusing together, which is rare for human cells. The question was if we were dealing with an unfamiliar, possibly unicellular, eukaryotic organism or rare type of cancer? So, it was decided to proceed for the molecular analysis of the tissue specimens.” Dr. Bhatnagar said.

“Every year, IDPB receives thousands of tissue specimens to provide assistance in investigations of infectious disease of unknown etiologies, unexplained illnesses/deaths and outbreaks; consequently, the Molecular Pathology Lab has uniquely developed more than 150 polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)-based assays and other cutting edge techniques such as pyrosequencing, in-situ hybridization (ISH) and laser microdissection for the identification of wide-array of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi from tissue specimens. Since in this case, initial suspicion was on plasmodial slime mold because of syncytia formation, I started with some broad-range PCR tests targeting slime mold (Myxogastria) and other eukaryotes using DNA extracted from the tissue specimens. By gel electrophoresis of initial PCRs, I saw some faint bands of DNA (PCR products), I decided to make PCRs less stringent and repeated. This time, I got the bands of DNA that I was able to sequence. The result of sequence analysis was completely surprising, as the DNA sequences matched with Hymenolepis nana, a dwarf tapeworm. I could not believe my own results. I tried another PCR, this time specifically targeting cestodes. The resulting DNA sequencing showed 99% identities with Hymenolepis nana again. I searched the literature and interestingly found a case report from Dr. Olson’s group (Natural History Museum, London) related to H. nana infection that showed an image of similar tiny cells in a HIV-positive man.  Feeling more confident now, I sent the results to Dr. Atis Muehlenbachs, a pathologist handling the case, other pathologists of the group and Dr. Sherif Zaki, Chief of the IDPB. They were as surprised as I was. One of them actually predicted in advance and said, “This is really exotic -- case of the decade!” It was concluded after further review that the tiny cells in the lymph nodes of our patient was certainly very similar to the ones showed in Dr. Olson’s case report. Although there were some unanswered questions, Dr. Muehlenbachs quickly contacted doctors in Colombia and informed about the diagnosis. However, unfortunately, patient was in palliative care at that time and died 72 hours after the diagnosis. No specific treatment was attempted.”

“Even though the patient died, our investigation continued, as there was a question if we could actually localize H. nana DNA in those tiny cells to confirm that the cells originated from a tapeworm,” said Dr. Bhatnagar. “Dr. Zaki suggested attempting in-situ hybridization. I designed and prepared DNA probes using H. nana DNA that we amplified from the patient’s samples. Simultaneously, probes targeting human Alu DNA sequences were prepared. In-situ hybridization was attempted and this time showed what we were expecting - H. nana DNA probe signals were detected in the proliferative tiny cell clusters, while human Alu probe signals detected in the surrounding human tissue. So, this issue was resolved.”

“The next goal was to confirm the species and to obtain more information about the phylogeny,” Dr. Bhatnagar said. “For this, I tried hymenolepidid-species specific PCR targeting mitochondrial gene CO1 and sequenced the DNA obtained from the PCR products. This case had never seized to amaze us – the sequence was beautiful, but I found some gene mutations. I repeated the sequencing twice and the results remained the same. I shared the sequences with Dr. Muehlenbachs, and he almost jumped out of his chair. He thought the mutations were very similar to the ones that we see in human cancer. I could not agree more. All the papers that I read during my early training years while getting my Ph.D. related to the gastrointestinal tumor markers were coming back to mind.”

“Now, the big question was- if the tapeworm had the cancer or muteted geneS for cancer? We thought we could only get the answer by deep-sequencing of the whole genome of the H. nana. But, at that time, we did not have next-generation sequencing facility in our lab. Next day, Dr. Muehlenbachs and I was sitting in the office of Dr. Michael Frace, Ph.D., CDC’s Biotechnology Core facility to discuss about the project. He mentioned that comparative deep sequencing could be attempted, but could we get him DNA from normal H. nana control? Dr. Muehlenbachs contacted Dr. Olson and others to get us control DNA/tissue so that we can prepare specially treated DNA for deep sequencing. Deep sequencing of the specimens from the patient revealed 6 insertional mutations (5 associated with protein coding genes) and comparative analysis identified H. nana structural genomic variants that are compatible with mutations described in cancer.”

“To a certain extent, mystery solved for this case.” said Dr. Bhatnagar. “Still, there are several unanswered questions and I am optimistic that if experts of several different areas work together collaboratively, some day we will find all the answers and unravel many new facts.” However, Dr. Bhatnagar, who was previously involved in several interesting case investigations including Clostridium sordellii septic shock syndrome associated with medical abortions, has cautioned against reading too much from a single case investigation.

Society News Now, Issue #12

A monthly update on activities occurring on behalf of the members of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science

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Issue 12 November 2015

In This Issue:

Clinical Laboratory Educators' Conference

Student Forum  │  Patient Safety Committee

New Professional and New Member Forum

The Education and Research Fund, Inc 2016-17 Committee Appointments


Clinical Laboratory Educators’ Conference:  Registration is now open for CLEC, which is scheduled in Minneapolis, MN February 25-27, 2016. On-line registration is available at ASCLS.org/CLEC.  Join your colleagues for an informative conference!

Student Forum:  The Student Forum Annual Yankee Candle fundraiser is ongoing.  Funds will support travel grants for students to the ASCLS 2016 Legislative Symposium in Washington, DC and the 2016 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  Items purchased will be shipped directly to your home.  Please visit www.Yankeecandlefundraising.com to support the Student Forum!

Patient Safety Committee:  The PSC members submit monthly articles to the COLA sponsored web site Lab Testing Matters.  This month’s article describes how laboratory professionals can improve the quality of laboratory services using the Institute of Medicare Quality Aims and Competencies.  See www.labtestingmatters.org to read this article and others submitted by the ASCLS Patient Safety Committee members.

New Professional and New Member Forum:  The forum will be creating a Facebook page for all new members and new professionals in mid-November.  Share your comments, questions, concerns and experiences with the group.  The group will be called “ASCLS New Professionals and New Members”.

The Education and Research Fund, Inc:  The E&R Fund, Inc. provides scholarships to Clinical Laboratory Science undergraduate and graduate students.  A scholarship to honor Bernadette “Bunny” Rodak has been established in recognition of her superb contributions to the discipline of hematology, through her textbooks, her dedication to ASCLS and her service on the ASCLS Consumer  Response team.  Individuals and/or state societies are invited to contribute through the “Donate” link on the ASCLS home page:  Choose E&R Fund, and complete the donation page.

ASCLS 2016-2017 Committee Appointments:  A call for volunteers to serve on ASCLS Committees for the coming year has been emailed to all members and published in ASCLS Today.  If you are interested in serving on a committee, please complete the information requested at:  www.surveymonkey.com/r.G5LDZHX.  

 

Society News Now, Issue #11

A monthly update on activities occurring on behalf of the members of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science

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Issue 11 October 2015

In this Issue:

Membership Committee

ASCLS Executive Committee Meeting and Upcoming Board of Directors Conference Call

AMSC and AMI PSC and PPC

Diversity Advocacy Council


Membership Committee

The ASCLS Membership Committee has implemented a Regional Member Rewards competition. The Region that recruits the most new PF1 and PF2 members through the Member Rewards program will be able to show they are NUMBER 1 by receiving special victory buttons at the annual meeting in Philadelphia. Review the Member Rewards program on the ASCLS website under the Join tab, Current Membership Promotions http://www.ascls.org/join-ascls/current-membership-promotions .

Do you know of an up and coming shining star in your state or region? The “ASCLS Voices Under 40” program will recognize ASCLS members under the age of 40 who have shown exceptional commitment to ASCLS, the laboratory profession, and their community at large. Honorees will be recognized at the annual meeting in Philadelphia in August, 2016 and may be spotlighted in future issues of ASCLS Today, on the website and on social media. Their employers will also receive notification of the recognition. Application and more information can be found here: http://www.ascls.org/voices-under-40 .

ASCLS Executive Committee Meeting and Upcoming ASCLS Board of Directors Conference Call

The ASCLS Executive Committee, a subset of the Board of Directors, met in Philadelphia in September. Among the many issues discussed was the new logo for the Society. You may remember there was a contest last spring and several good proposed logos were submitted. The winning logo was similar to the banner on the ASCLS Website home page, so the Executive Committee voted to use that banner for our “official” logo. The logo retains the beloved triangles, so there is no need to replace society pins or other materials. Feel free to copy the banner from the web site and incorporate it into your regional and state reports.

The Executive Committee also discussed several task forces that were approved by the full board in August. Members will be notified soon by the Task Force Chairs to begin their work. The full Board of Directors will meet by conference call on October 26.

Annual Meeting Steering Committee (AMSC) and Advanced Management Institute (AMI)

Members met in Philadelphia, the site of the 2016 ASCLS Annual Meeting, to begin planning the programs for both of these events.  The Abstract and Proposal Review Committee and Scientific Assemblies actively solicited proposals; over 200 proposals were reviewed and ranked as part of the process for determining the educational offerings for both the AMI and the Annual Meeting.  The AMSC members are now working to solidify the proposals and develop speaker contracts. The Philadelphia Host Committee and the ASCLS-PA members are very excited to welcome ASCLS back to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection after 13 years!

You may know that Pope Francis visited the US and Philadelphia in September. The website “Checkin” (http://checkin.trivago.com/) featured an article written by Natalia Kvitek titled “48 Hours in Philly …With the Pope”. An excerpt from the websiteappears below, suggesting that the Pope should have stayed at the Loews Hotel, the beautiful hotel ASCLS members will be based in during the 2016 Annual Meeting.

“The Pope has shunned the decadent Papal apartment in the Vatican in favor of much simpler lodging, but when he travels, he can hardly be put up in a rooming house. Philadelphia has no lack of beautiful hotels but we think he would appreciate the  Loews Philadelphia Hotel . Housed in a 1930’s building that holds the title of our nation’s first skyscraper, he might even indulge in a cheeky swim in the hotel pool. In-room WiFi means he can comfortably surf the web, or reply to messages from his adoring worldwide fanbase. Plus, the view from the suites will remind him of just how blessed he is.“

Patient Safety Committee and the Promotion of the Profession Committee

The members of these two committees have worked together to develop the 2016 ASCLS Patient Safety Calendar.  The calendar promotes our role as medical laboratory professionals in patient safety and highlights our profession and our important days each month.  It is now available for purchase in theASCLS Online Store !  The cost per calendar is $10 and includes shipping. The deadline to order has been extended to October 15, 2015. The calendar is also available as a free digital download.  Visit thePromotion of the Profession websitefor more information.

Diversity Advocacy Council

Attention all ASCLS MEMBERS!  We are gathering historical moments of ASCLS and we would like copies of your pictures and testimonials for an archive project.  The purpose of this project is to compile these moments into a slideshow for viewing at the ASCLS Annual Meeting.  We are also accepting recorded files with your stories: tell us about an experience you have had in your past that has had a large effect in your life/profession while working in health care.  The Diversity Advocacy Council would like your input byNovember 30th!  Please send your submissions to costan@umich.edu .  If you have any trouble scanning your pictures or sending your recordings please let us know and we will help troubleshoot.

In addition, we would appreciate some volunteers who might be willing to assist in helping put the slideshow together. If you are interested, please also respond to the email listed above.  We would love to hear your input. Please contact us with your comments.