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Death by Lab-Acquired Infection?

A researcher dead from a meningococcal infection may have acquired it in his laboratory.

By | May 8, 2012

image: Death by Lab-Acquired Infection? Gram-stained Neisseria meningitidis group B. CDC/Dr. Brodsky

Gram-stained Neisseria meningitidis group B.CDC/DR. BRODSKY

A young researcher who succumbed last month (April 28) to meningitis may have been infected at work, reported ScienceInsider. Richard Din, 25 years old, worked at the Veteran Affairs (VA) Medical Center in San Francisco, California, as a research associate, studying the serotype B strain of the Neisseria meningitidis bacterium. Though vaccines exist for other strains, there is no vaccine for serotype B, and Din’s lab, run by Carl Grunfeld, aims to develop one.

Blood tests showed that Din was infected with the serotype B strain of N. meningitidis, but a definitive diagnosis of a lab-acquired infection waits until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies the specific strain. "It's presumed to be a lab exposure, but it's not 100 percent," Harry Lampiris, chief of infectious disease at the San Francisco VA, told ScienceInsider.

If confirmed, it will not be the first time a lab-acquired infection has killed a researcher. A few years ago, University of Chicago’s Malcolm Casadaban was fatally infected with a weakened strain of Yersinia pestis, the plague bacterium that he investigated.

Both bacteria are regulated as biosafety level-2 pathogens, requiring the use of a biosaftey hood, gloves, and face shield or mask and goggles. How Din may have become exposed is not yet known. Lampiris told ScienceInsider that Din’s coworkers considered him a careful lab worker, and no accidents or hood malfunction appear to explain his infection.

"Obviously our whole institution is devastated," Lampiris said.

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Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

May 15, 2012

Be prepared. They have shown meningitis destroys the phosphatidylcholine in the brain and have recommended its' supplementation in order to protect one from such  a happening.
"Supplementation with exogenous lyso-phosphatidylcholine prevents cell death and treatment of mice with cytidine diphosphocholine attenuates hippocampal damage during meningitis, even after the onset of infection. We conclude that bacterial inhibition of PtdCho biosynthesis activates an apoptotic cascade that is a causative event in pathogenesis and amenable to therapeutic intervention."

"Therapeutic effects of lysophosphatidylcholine in experimental sepsis"
"Results suggest lysophosphatidylcholine can prevent and treat sepsis and microbial infections"

Avatar of: Anne Breen

Anne Breen

Posts: 1457

May 15, 2012

I also applaud your great detailed work and review Daniel. As a 1992 NCI SWOG 9005 phase 3 clinical trial participant back in the 90's I was a very "impatient"  patient volunteer when I received a form letter that the trial I was in was anonymously closed by a NCI Data and Safety Monitoring Committee.  Even my elected US House of Representative Jim Kolbe could not get me any names of specific people on the DSMC who had closed the trial simply saying it was, "no more effective than placebo", I was very disturbed after my own condition was successfully in remission on the real drug for three years, right after my recurrent primary brain tumor had continued to grow the first year on the placebo. I was not able to get any more information for years. I really wanted to find out how many major brain surgeries and how much brain radiation the other meningioma patients had already had to weaken them before they started the drug trial of mifepristone. So often clinical trials are only used by patients who have already flunked every available standard therapy.
If you need a new challenging project,  I wish you would consider studying mifepristone for cancer patients. It did eliminate anemia in a Rochester clinical trial done more recently in 2006-7 to successfully shrink uterine fibroids.  I am taking the drug again with FDA approval since Feb 2005 and my condition is stable. I am a twenty six year bt survivor and I have only found a few other fully functioning patients more than an average of 10 years after both standard brain surgery and IMRT brain radiation. Please visit my blog to read more about my campaign for mifepristone at http://gbyayblogspot.com        

Avatar of: Anne Breen

Anne Breen

Posts: 1457

May 15, 2012

Ophs, so sorry I meant my comment to go to Daniel Coyne's article on "Misleading Drug Trials" about a drug treating anemia

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 15, 2012

Be prepared. They have shown meningitis destroys the phosphatidylcholine in the brain and have recommended its' supplementation in order to protect one from such  a happening.
"Supplementation with exogenous lyso-phosphatidylcholine prevents cell death and treatment of mice with cytidine diphosphocholine attenuates hippocampal damage during meningitis, even after the onset of infection. We conclude that bacterial inhibition of PtdCho biosynthesis activates an apoptotic cascade that is a causative event in pathogenesis and amenable to therapeutic intervention."

"Therapeutic effects of lysophosphatidylcholine in experimental sepsis"
"Results suggest lysophosphatidylcholine can prevent and treat sepsis and microbial infections"

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 15, 2012

I also applaud your great detailed work and review Daniel. As a 1992 NCI SWOG 9005 phase 3 clinical trial participant back in the 90's I was a very "impatient"  patient volunteer when I received a form letter that the trial I was in was anonymously closed by a NCI Data and Safety Monitoring Committee.  Even my elected US House of Representative Jim Kolbe could not get me any names of specific people on the DSMC who had closed the trial simply saying it was, "no more effective than placebo", I was very disturbed after my own condition was successfully in remission on the real drug for three years, right after my recurrent primary brain tumor had continued to grow the first year on the placebo. I was not able to get any more information for years. I really wanted to find out how many major brain surgeries and how much brain radiation the other meningioma patients had already had to weaken them before they started the drug trial of mifepristone. So often clinical trials are only used by patients who have already flunked every available standard therapy.
If you need a new challenging project,  I wish you would consider studying mifepristone for cancer patients. It did eliminate anemia in a Rochester clinical trial done more recently in 2006-7 to successfully shrink uterine fibroids.  I am taking the drug again with FDA approval since Feb 2005 and my condition is stable. I am a twenty six year bt survivor and I have only found a few other fully functioning patients more than an average of 10 years after both standard brain surgery and IMRT brain radiation. Please visit my blog to read more about my campaign for mifepristone at http://gbyayblogspot.com        

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 15, 2012

Ophs, so sorry I meant my comment to go to Daniel Coyne's article on "Misleading Drug Trials" about a drug treating anemia

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