Novartis Pharmaceuticals are developing a new way to treat cancer

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Morris Plains, NJ: In what may prove to be the next breakthrough in cancer treatment, researchers at Novartis Pharmaceuticals are developing a new way to treat cancer. The process, known as CAR-T, involves removing the patient’s T-cells, genetically engineering them in the lab to recognize and attack tumor cells, and returning them to the patient’s body.

While this process may sound like a clinical trial that is many years out, it is actually close to becoming a reality. Early clinical trials involving patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who stopped responding to other treatments have shown some success. Many of the patients’ tumors completely disappeared, and several patients have remained cancer-free for long periods.

“There are going to be many other tests, in other cancers, immune diseases and even some genetic diseases may eventually be treated,” Dr. David Epstein, the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division Head, told CNBC’s Nightly Business Report. “So we don’t know if it’s going to be used for thousands of patients, or tens of thousands of patients, or in the best case scenario, many years out, even more.”

Novartis Pharmaceuticals is leading the push to bring this new treatment to fruition. CAR-T stands for chimeric antigen receptor therapy. It’s a form of immunotherapy known as adoptive cell transfer in which treatments are designed to use the patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer. Novartis says that if all goes well, its first product could hit the market as early as 2017.

Sterility is of the utmost importance when handling patient cells. Clinical researchers at Novartis view every cell culture as an extension of the patient, and because of that, they engage in the most rigorous biosafety measures. Researchers must wear several layers of personal protective equipment, including a lab coat, two pairs of gloves, goggles and masks.

Additional biosafety is provided by using NuAire custom biosafety cabinets while working with cell cultures. These cabinets offer Class II protection for personnel, product and the environment. They can be used for applications that require protection from potentially harmful aerosols and airborne particles. NuAire custom solutions aren’t limited to cancer research – they allow for a variety of application uses.

 

Biosafety and Hazardous Product Storage

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Technician using microscope adhering to biosafety practices

Amid a spate of incidents of improperly stored, potentially infectious biological agents–including anthrax, smallpox, and avian influenza–reported in July 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued letters to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Health and Human Services Inspector General questioning adherence to mandated safety practices.

Dr. Jere Dick of the Department of Agriculture testified before the committee about a possible anthrax exposure at the CDC that many controls were deficient, including biosafety, security, and management. As a research scientist or lab employee working with select agents, you can have an impact on improving this situation.

Importance of Biosafety Protocols

A biohazard is any organism that causes human or animal disease. Biohazards can be absorbed through wounds, the respiratory tract, digestive system, skin or mucous membranes, and exposure can happen at any stage of biohazard handling. To ensure the safe use of biohazards, research institutes must follow the Federal Select Agent Program, which oversees the possession, transfer, and use of biological select agents and toxins and mandates laboratory practices on containment, handling, sterilization, and disinfection in the lab, as well as safe handling of lab equipment, waste disposal, and waste transport.

Equipment for Sterile Environments

Scientists and lab managers conducting research using select agents can reduce possible contamination and improve compliance with the Federal Select Agent Program by selecting appropriate microbiologic practices, safety equipment, and facility safeguards for their labs. One area where you can make a big impact is by selecting lab storage equipment that meets or exceeds requirements, such as NuAire biosafety cabinets that provide sterile environments for storing hazardous agents.

Avoiding Contamination

As well designed as they are, these biological safety cabinets alone cannot prevent contamination when lab workers open them and reach inside. To avoid contamination and increase biosafety, NuAire hosts an infographic on its website of 10 aseptic techniques you should follow when working in a biosafety cabinet.

While the government’s investigations should improve training and enforcement to prevent exposure to potentially infectious agents and biohazards, the equipment lab workers use also plays a role in preventing contamination. As a research scientist, you can make a significant contribution by choosing the best NuAire Biosafety Cabinets and ensuring your lab workers use them properly.

Performance Test of Class II Biosafety Cabinets and Animal Transfer Stations Used for the Safe Handling of Animals in the Animal Laboratory

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Testing of Airflow Products in the Animal Laboratory Presentation

The TurnKey Conference took place May 7-8, 2015 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. The TurnKey Conference brings together the industry’s brightest and smartest in Animal Laboratory Facility Design. The conference offers useful information and ideas on how to update or design animal laboratories to be more efficient and economical, and how to avoid the common pitfalls and costly mistakes.

The need for the safe handling of animals and protection in the animal laboratory for end users is ever increasing. With this increase comes an influx of new airflow products stating an offering of product and personnel protection.

“Each manufacturer has taken their own approach to the [Animal Transfer Station] market. No common sizes or configuration… no common performance or testing requirements…”

NuAire’s Vice President of North American Sales Scott Christensen recently brought this issue to light during the TurnKey Conference presenting Performance Test of Class II Biosafety Cabinets and Animal Transfer Stations Used for the Safe Handling of Animals. In this presentation Mr. Christensen discusses the various types of airflow products, safety standards, and what to be aware of when purchasing or using airflow products in the animal laboratory.

If you were unable to attend the animal laboratory conference or presentation please download the presentation slides to learn the following:

  • Understanding how Class II Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC) and Animal Transfer Stations (ATS) are used in animal the laboratory.
  • Knowledge and principles behind airflows to understand product and personnel protection.
  • Certification and Performance Testing of Class II Biological Safety Cabinets and Animal Transfer Stations.
  • Placement of materials in the Biological Safety Cabinet and Animal Transfer Station – Impacts of movement on animals and researchers.
  • Pulling it all together –how design, performance and testing along with proper technique optimize the safety of researchers and animals in the animal laboratory.

Download Presentation


Biosafety Cabinets Assist with Outbreak of H5N2

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NuAire Biosafety Cabinets help assist with H5N2 outbreak

A new strain of the H5N2 virus has spread to poultry populations across the country, including cases in Iowa, Minnesota, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. The first instance of the virus appeared in poultry farms in British Columbia.

The outbreak’s reach is such that some labs are working overtime to keep up with the cases of avian flu. Before the outbreak in Minnesota, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota — the only lab in the state capable of testing for the virus — had 5 full-time technicians. The lab has increased its staff to 12, and they are all carrying a heavy workload, performing well over 100 tests a day.

If your laboratory is dealing with a similar surge, it’s crucial that you have the necessary equipment at your disposal to ensure your staff members’ safety as they work harder and longer hours.

Testing with the right tools such as Biosafety Cabinets

The lab technicians have a number of tools that aid them in performing tests in a safe environment. Chief among them is the NuAire Biosafety Cabinets, which allows laboratory workers to isolate themselves from dangerous viruses while performing tests with ease.

A biosafety safety cabinet differs from a glove box used to handle severe biohazards in that it has an open access section that protects the end user by an air barrier. The air barrier at the front of the cabinet helps prevent contamination from infectious splashes or aerosols. The air flows evenly across the work surface to help prevent cross-contamination. The exhaust air passes through a HEPA filter before recirculating into the laboratory environment or exhausted through a facility’s HVAC system.

These measures ensure the necessary safety your laboratory workers without compromising their ability to respond to ongoing threats.

Navigating the current crisis

Although there is no expected direct risk for humans, consumers are still certain to see an impact due to the impact on the poultry market — putting pressure on healthcare research labs across the country. If your lab has experience dealing with H5N2, it’s inevitable that you’ll feel the crunch as well.

In these critical times, it’s more important than ever that your staff has the right equipment to help them do their jobs efficiently and safely. As you invest in the future of your laboratory, biosafety cabinets should be at the top of your list.

Use of Pharmacy Compounding Isolator Onboard US Navy Ship

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Use of Pharmacy Compounding Isolator Onboard US Navy Ship

Compounding aseptic isolators, such as those manufactured by NuAire, are glove boxes that allow a pharmacist to mix medications in a sterile, positive air pressure environment. They are also used to prepare syringes and IV bags for the treatment of patients in hospitals. When using a compounding aseptic isolator, air flow passes through a HEPA filter that removes particulates and other contaminants. The isolator is designed to separate the environment where the pharmacist is working from the environment where the work is being done.

It’s important to keep in mind that isolators are not “magic boxes.” Specifically, they require certain conditions be met to provide proper aseptic conditions. They require stringent procedures to operate safely, including proper disinfection, safe material transfer, and safe production of medications while in use. The pharmacist must also be scrubbed, gloved, and gowned to create a sterile environment.

NuAire pharmacy compounding isolators are used on board ships of the United States Navy, particularly the hospital ships USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort. These vessels provide all the services of a modern hospital and can be deployed offshore any place in the world. The Mercy and the Comfort are not only deployed to treat casualties resulting in American military operations, but also to support the Navy’s efforts to alleviate the effects of natural disasters anywhere in the world as well as to provide medical services in remote areas where they would not ordinarily be present.

The Mercy’s first major deployment was during Operation Desert Storm. Since then she has participated in the periodic Pacific Partnership operations designed to provide humanitarian relief to countries along the Pacific Rim, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and the countries of South East Asia. The Comfort has also deployed during Operation Desert Storm, as well as the Iraq War. She supported relief operations in Haiti, off the coast of New York City in the wake of 9/11, the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and in ongoing humanitarian operations in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

NuAire compounding aseptic isolators have been used in many areas of the word, even under the harshest of conditions. With this adaptability they are able to support the treatment of injured and sick patients across the globe, all the while simulating the safest of conditions for physicians.

Transmission of Ebola Viruses

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ABSTRACT – Transmission of Ebola Viruses: What We Know and What We Do Not Know

Available evidence demonstrates that direct patient contact and contact with infectious body fluids are the primary modes for Ebola virus transmission, but this is based on a limited number of studies. Key areas requiring further study include (i) the role of aerosol transmission (either via large droplets or small particles in the vicinity of source patients), (ii) the role of environmental contamination and fomite transmission, (iii) the degree to which minimally or mildly ill persons transmit infection, (iv) how long clinically relevant infectiousness persists, (v) the role that “superspreading events” may play in driving transmission dynamics, (vi) whether strain differences or repeated serial passage in outbreak settings can impact virus transmission, and (vii) what role sylvatic or domestic animals could play in outbreak propagation, particularly during major epidemics such as the 2013–2015 West Africa situation. In this review, we address what we know and what we do not know about Ebola virus transmission. We also hypothesize that Ebola viruses have the potential to be respiratory pathogens with primary respiratory spread.

 

Read the full Article from ASM.org here

 

Biosafety Cabinet Tips, Cleaning Up a Spill

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Cleaning a Spill within a Biosafety Cabinet

 

The Environmental Health and Safety Department at Iowa State University shows how to properly clean a spill in your Biosafety Cabinet.

Spills within the biosafety cabinet should be handled by removing the contaminated absorbent toweling and disposing it into a biohazard bag. Splatters onto items within the biosafety cabinet, as well as the cabinet interior, should be wiped with a towel dampened with an appropriate disinfectant. Hands should be washed whenever gloves are changed or removed.

It is also smart to spray and wipe potentially contaminated walls, work surfaces, and implements with an appropriate disinfectant. For large spills one should flood the work surface with disinfectant and allow to stand 10 to 15 minutes before absorbing and wiping clean. Always check the spill pan under the work surface and disinfect as well.

 

Biosafety Cabinet Use from Lab Safety Institute

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It might be a little dated but this video is a great learning and reminder exercise when working in your Biological Safety Cabinet. You can compare to your procedures when working in your Biosafety Cabinet and even pick up on a few things or point out what you might think is incorrect. We make some great Biosafety Cabinets designed for long lastings safety but sometimes it is only as good as its end user if you’re not using the cabinet properly.

You can see one of our old “Blue” cabinets being used :)… Like I said long lasting.

 

Time for a Ultra-low Temperature Freezer?

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NuAire Ultra-low Temperature Freezers

 

Complete System Failure and New Applications Main Reasons to Purchase

While there aren’t often obvious signals that your [ultra-low temperature freezer] is about to die, the experts say there are a few things you can look for.

“As long as it’s working, you don’t really worry about it; it’s not going to tip you off to anything particular that’s about to fail,” says Buckner Richerson, vice president of international sales at NuAire (Plymouth, MN). “You unfortunately just get hit in the nose one morning when you come in and see that it’s failed during the night.”

NuAire offers a variety of ultra-low temperature freezers

However, he says that oil logging, which could be caused by a variety of problems, is one sign that a freezer may be on its way out and users will notice it when the freezer begins warming up.

“Oil logging occurs when there are restrictions within the capillary tubing and the cascade system breaks down,” Richerson says. “As the freezer warms up, that clogging melts so it starts to work again for a while and then it clogs up again. It could be because the unit has been operating out of spec.”

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Read the full article here

ABSA Anthology of Biosafety Books Year-End Discounts!

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ABSA is offering discounts on the Anthology of Biosafety books until December 30, 2014. You will receive a 15% discount on each book ordered or a 20% discount if the entire 13 book series is purchased. Please note that the set is listed as “Full Set Anthology Series (Vol. I-XIII)”.

Read more click here