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Nov 9, 2015

Advising people about heart risk genes helped cut cholesterol: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – People who were told their genetic risk for heart disease had lower levels of LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, six months later, according to a new study that offers a first glimpse of how doctors might use genetic information in clinical practice.

In the study presented on Monday at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Florida, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, tested the theory that incorporating genetic risk information into an assessment of a person’s heart disease risk could lead to lower levels of LDL, the portion of cholesterol that leads to heart attacks and strokes.

Nov 6, 2015

Direct-to-consumer company tests FDA’s resolve on gene testing

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Just as 23andMe has made peace with the US Food and Drug Administration, another direct-to-consumer genetics company is testing the regulatory waters with the launch of a $249 DNA test designed to predict drug response.

The test, from tiny startup DNA4Life based in Mandeville, Louisiana, comes in the wake of 23andMe’s two-year tussle with the FDA over its direct-to-consumer personal DNA testing service, which the FDA ordered off the market in 2013.

Nov 4, 2015

Case for testing cancer in blood builds, one study at a time

CHICAGO/LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Two new studies published
on Wednesday of patients with breast and prostate cancers add to
growing evidence that detecting bits of cancer DNA circulating
in the blood can guide patient treatment.

Enthusiasm is building for “liquid biopsies,” which offer a
non-invasive alternative to standard tissue biopsies and are
expected to be a multibillion-dollar market.

Nov 3, 2015

U.S. agencies press food companies to prevent disease outbreaks

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. regulators want food companies to be more proactive in preventing food-borne diseases, citing new data showing that multistate outbreaks – which involve widely distributed products – cause more than half of all food poisoning deaths, even though they account for just 3 percent of all outbreaks.

The call to action comes amid multistate E. coli outbreaks involving 167,427 pounds (76,000 kg) of ground beef made by All American Meats of Omaha, Nebraska, and the closing of 43 Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc restaurants in Washington and Oregon. The outbreak is Chipotle’s third this year.

Oct 29, 2015

White House issues report on improving biosafety at federal labs

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The White House issued a 187-page report on Thursday designed to improve biosafety following a series of safety breaches at federal laboratories charged with handling dangerous pathogens such as anthrax, bird flu and smallpox.

The report follows a sweeping review of the government’s biosafety and biosecurity practices, and includes specific recommendations and deadlines for laboratories to improve their practices.

Oct 28, 2015

Tuberculosis now rivals AIDS as leading cause of death: WHO

CHICAGO (Reuters) – For the first time, tuberculosis infections rivaled HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of death from infectious diseases, the World Health Organization said in a report released on Wednesday.

It found that during 2014, 1.1 million people died of TB in 2014. During the same period, HIV/AIDS killed 1.2 million people globally, including 400,000 who were infected with both HIV and TB.

Oct 21, 2015

23andMe relaunches consumer genetic testing service

NEW YORK/CHICAGO, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Consumer genetics
testing company 23andMe said on Wednesday it was relaunching its
personal DNA testing service with a limited menu of tests that
have won the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The announcement is a major step for the company, which in
2013 was ordered by the FDA to stop selling its Personal Genome
Service because the regulatory agency had not approved the
tests, which the company was offering directly to consumers.

Oct 21, 2015

23andMe launches new consumer test service to check for genetic disorders

NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Genetics company 23andMe announced the launch of a new consumer genetic test service on Wednesday that will show whether an individual carries genes associated with 36 different disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.

The launch is a major step for the company, which in 2013 was ordered by the Food and Drug Administration to stop selling its Personal Genome Service because the regulatory agency had not approved the tests it offered.

Oct 7, 2015

Nobel discoveries on DNA repair now fueling cancer drug research

CHICAGO, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Cancer researchers are just
beginning to understand the ramifications of the fundamental
discoveries behind the 2015 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, which
were awarded on Wednesday to three scientists for explaining how
cells repair mistakes in DNA that occur when cells divide.

When deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repair mechanisms fail,
they predispose people to cancer. That is especially true of
individuals with mismatch repair defects, a mechanism discovered
by Paul Modrich of Duke University and the Howard Hughes Medical

Sep 30, 2015

U.S. biotech to apply artificial intelligence to UK genome study

CHICAGO, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Berg, a private company that
uses artificial intelligence to discover new drugs and
diagnostics, will help England’s national genomics project mine
DNA and health data from thousands of British citizens for
potential drug targets.

Berg, based in Boston, was co-founded in 2006 by Silicon
Valley real estate billionaire Carl Berg. Since then, it has
been working to change the way drugs are discovered, working in
partnership with key players such as the U.S. Department of
Defense and the Parkinson’s Institute Clinical Center.

    • About Julie

      "Julie Steenhuysen has been covering health and science topics for Reuters for the past decade, first as a medical device correspondent, then as team leader for the equities team covering U.S. pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies. For the past 4 years, Julie has worked as U.S. health and science correspondent, focusing on coverage for a general news audience."
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