Ebola Outbreak Continues, WHO Coordinates International Efforts to Combat Disease
August 27, 2014
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola an international public health emergency on August 8, 2014, and the number of cases of Ebola continues to rise in West Africa. There is some evidence that these numbers may be vastly underestimated. Confirming cases through laboratory testing, tracking the spread of the disease, and additional coordinated efforts between WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other global agencies are essential for helping to stop further spread of the Ebola virus. Read more...
An international team of researchers has found that mutations in the PALB2 gene are an important cause of hereditary breast cancer. The scientists suggest that evaluations of breast cancer risk should include tests for PALB2 mutations, along with the better known BRCA mutations tests. However, additional studies are likely needed before major health organizations support its inclusion.
The FDA has released its new final guidance on companion diagnostics. These are laboratory tests that are developed in conjunction with new therapies and are often essential in determining whether the therapies will be effective in certain patients. The goal of the guidance is to provide faster access to new treatments for people with serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions.
UPDATE (8/12/14): The FDA has approved the stool DNA test reported in this article.
A new option for colon cancer screening may soon be available. An advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend to the FDA that a stool DNA test be approved for marketing. Unlike other options, such as colonoscopy, the stool test is non-invasive and the sample can be collected at home with no need for bowel preparation or medication. The FDA is expected to make its decision on whether to allow the test to be marketed in the next few months.