Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Pharmigene said last week that 50 hospitals in Taiwan will now administer its test for HLA-B*1502, which is a marker for increased risk of adverse events in Asian populations treated with the anti-seizure drug carbamazepine.

The US Food and Drug Administration in 2007 updated the label for carbamazepine to recommend that patients of Asian ancestry taking the drug be tested for the HLA-B*1502 marker. While one NEJM study published this week supports this practice, a second study suggests that the boxed warning be expanded to include a new allele for the European population.

Nine members of the HMO Research Network "will use detailed clinical profiles to search for potential subjects to enroll into … serious adverse events research projects using their electronic medical record databases," iSAEC said in a statement.

The Mayo Clinic will develop tests to detect for the presence of alleles that increase the risk for developing the potentially deadly skin disease if certain drugs are taken.

For the first year of the SAEC-HMORN collaboration, each HMO will sift through the clinical profile of its members in the network's database and identify potential participants for future gene-association studies.

The data, analyzed from biological samples donated by GlaxoSmithKline, is available on SAEC's website for free, and the group plans to publish the associations later this year. However, an SAEC official said "it would be preliminary to develop a meaningful diagnostic chip off this data."

The New York Times reports that the US Department of Defense has implemented about half the recommendations made to improve safe handling of dangerous agents.

An Australian-led team has generated a draft genome assembly of the invasive cane toad in hopes it will help in population control, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In PLOS this week: approach for teasing out archaic introgression in human genomes, immune transcription features in HCV infection, and more.

Stat News reports that Maryland is promoting itself to the biotech industry with a mobile billboard.