“They are our hospital's unsung heroes," says anesthesiologist Dr. Jacqueline Trudeau. “When the sickest of patients come through our doors, they silently, efficiently, and seemingly effortlessly provide blood products and test results… Without them, our patients would perish."
The team recently helped implement a groundbreaking new system for a laboratory test used to assess bleeding and clotting in very ill patients. The project was challenging: traditionally the test is performed at the bedside of patients in the operating or emergency rooms, but clinicians wanted to provide access across all critical care areas of the hospital.
“This required the lab to implement the test in a way that is not traditionally done," explains Dr. Trudeau, noting no other hospitals in Canada have achieved the same unique implementation of the test. “We felt that this was the only way to optimally improve care for all of these patient populations."
The change equaled disruption and new ways of doing things, but the team took it in stride.
“It was the opportunity to do something new, although no easy solutions were available," adds Dr. Trudeau. “The team worked together to solve difficult, new problems; they stayed late often; they tolerated additional stress, and took on this extra work with excitement for the challenge."
And all their hard-work paid off: clinicians at VGH can now see the test in real-time as it is being handled in the lab, something that has made a meaningful difference – and improved outcomes –for patients.
Scandal-hit US blood-testing start-up Theranos is to formally dissolve, the firm's chief executive David Taylor has told shareholders in an email. Mr. Taylor said Theranos had run "out of time" to secure further investment or secure a buyer for its assets.
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former president Ramesh Balwani are facing criminal charges of wire fraud. Prosecutors say they engaged in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors, doctors and patients.
Mr. Taylor, who also serves as general counsel to the firm, said that Theranos had engaged the services of investment bank Jeffries to try to "maximise the value of the company" for shareholders. In the email obtained by the Wall Street Journal, he said the investment bank had "reached out" to over 80 potential buyers, but to no avail. "Unfortunately, none of those leads has materialized into a transaction. We are now out of time," he wrote.
Mr Taylor said the firm had breached the terms of its loan agreement with investor Fortress Investment Group, meaning the firm was now entitled to sell or take ownership of Theranos' intellectual property and assets.
Bacteria are shifty little things. We isolate antibiotics to kill them, and they evolve to dodge the attack. This is called antibiotic resistance, and it’s gotten so bad the United Nations (UN) actually declared it a crisis back in September 2016.
Now, a team of Chinese researchers think they’ve found a new weapon against antibiotic resistance: a fungal compound called albomycin δ2 that we can actually recreate in the lab.
They published their study Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
We knew from previous research that albomycins had antimicrobial properties, but it wasn’t until this research team dug into the fungal compounds that they learned that one specific compound, albomycin δ2, was especially adept at killing bacteria. It even outperformed a number of established antibiotics, including penicillin, when tested against the notoriously difficult to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Most antibiotics we use today are natural substances, and they often have complex chemical structures. That means that, most of the time, it’s really hard to reproduce them in the lab, which means they take longer to develop in large quantities. However, the researchers figured out a way we could synthesize albomycin δ2, which grants us the ability to evaluate it far more extensively than if we were relying on naturally produced samples.