Week In Review — April 11

The Week In Review provides an overview of the past week's top healthcare content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news and upcoming events.

Simple blood test to spot early lung cancer getting closer

One of these days there could well be a simple blood test that can help diagnose and track cancers. We aren't there yet, but a burst of research in this area shows we are getting a lot closer. In the latest of these studies, scientists have used blood samples to identify people with lung cancer. At the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Maximilian Diehn spends some of his time as a radiation oncologist treating patients with cancer, and some of his time delving into the world of DNA. In particular, he's been working on ways to detect DNA that has been shed from a tumor and ends up in a patient's blood. Via NPR Shots Blog. 

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Sidestepping the biopsy with new tools to spot cancer

For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis. Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called “liquid biopsies.” Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them. Via NY Times.

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Scientists try 3-D printer to build human heart

It may sound far-fetched, but scientists are attempting to build a human heart with a 3-D printer. Ultimately, the goal is to create a new heart for a patient with their own cells that could be transplanted. It is an ambitious project to first, make a heart and then get it to work in a patient, and it could be years — perhaps decades — before a 3-D printed heart would ever be put in a person. Via Associated Press.

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Drugstores play doctor: Physicals, flu diagnosis, and more

Retail medical clinics are expanding to meet Obamacare demand…Currently there are about 1,600 walk-in medical clinics across the country in drug and big-box stores and supermarkets like CVS, Walgreens, WAG -1.44%  Target and Kroger. The number is projected to double in the next three years due in part to the increased demands of newly insured patients under the Affordable Care Act, according to a 2013 report from Accenture, a global management-consulting firm. Via Wallstreet Journal.

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Lassa fever reported in U.S. 

A man is in stable condition in a Minnesota hospital with Lassa fever after returning from a trip to West Africa, where an outbreak of Ebola virus is now raging. The Minnesota Department of Health said the man flew to Minneapolis-St. Paul on March 31 and soon after his arrival visited a physician. Because of his travel history and symptoms, the doctor suspected a possible hemorrhagic fever. The man was admitted to the hospital with fever and confusion and CDC testing confirmed a diagnosis of Lassa fever on April 3, the department and the CDC said in separate statements. Via MedPage Today.

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Tissue testing during breast cancer lumpectomies

Unique laboratory testing during breast cancer lumpectomies to make sure surgeons remove all cancerous tissue spares patients the need for a repeat lumpectomy in roughly 96 percent of cases at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, a success rate much higher than the rate nationally, a Mayo study shows. Via Medical Xpress.

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Mayo Clinic shares lessons learned from genomics clinic for sequencing-based cancer care and diagnostics 

Konstantinos Lazaridis, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hepatologist and director of the Individualized Medicine Clinic, says the clinic is a natural extension of Mayo’s commitment to putting the needs of the patient first and that leaders in the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicinesaw this opportunity as an imperative. Since opening the clinic, more than 30 percent of patients on a diagnostic odyssey have received answers through whole-exome sequencing. Via HealthCanal.

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Myeloma: ‘Conditional survival’ concept identifies patients with extended life expectancy

Asked for his opinion for this article, Joseph Mikhael, MD, Consultant in Hematology/Oncology and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, said, “I support the concept of multiple myeloma as a chronic condition. We need to do more than classify patients based on progression-free survival or overall survival. I appreciate those two endpoints, but they don't always capture how patients do in the long-term.” Via Oncology Times.

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Executives perfect pioneers for genomic medicine

Much thought has gone into identifying a population group that could lead the rest of us into the new world of genomic medicine. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester in the United States runs an elite personal health program for executives. The program is intensive, expensive and based on cutting-edge research. The executives from this program have been identified as the perfect ­pioneers. They can afford it and are already on the program. They are also “early adapters”, willing to embrace the new culture of genomics. Happy to invest more in their relationship with their physician, they are curious about the complexities of health, says Matt Ferber, an associate professor at the Mayo Clinic. Via Australian Financial Review.

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Mayo volunteers recognized

Volunteers don't expect to get recognition, but on Wednesday, Mayo Clinic honored those who give their time to help others…."It's fun to come together to see each other, to participate, to hear the speakers," said volunteer Lynn Wightman. "Mayo does a great job of thanking us even though it's something we enjoy doing and would do it regardless."Dr. John Noseworthy, President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic, spoke to the volunteers as well. Via KTTC

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12 - Dr. Ananda Basu: Artificial Pancreas

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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.