TGen-NAU study generates Soviet anthrax pathogen genome from autopsy specimens

Next generation genomic analysis used to probe the former USSR’s biological weapons program

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Sept. 7, 2016 — A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) used deep DNA sequencing methods to generate the anthrax genome sequence from the victims of the 1979 anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk, Russia, when it was part of the USSR.

The Soviet Union produced anthrax spores on an industrial scale but repeatedly denied the existence of their biological weapons program. This study, to be published in the September issue of the journal mBio, represents a precise and detailed examination of the anthrax strain used in their weapons development, and includes an anthrax genetic database that puts the weapons strain into a global context.

“I have been studying this anthrax outbreak and these specimens for more than 20 years. Finally, using genomic technology, we could comprehensively characterize this pathogen genome,” said Dr. Paul Keim, a Regents Professor of Biology and the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at NAU, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, and the study’s lead author.

“This is the signature agent of the world’s largest biological weapons program and now we have it in our genetic databases. Anywhere this strain shows up again, we will be able to identify it and track it back to its source. This is now an essential part of our forensic arsenal,” said Dr. Keim, who also is Director of NAU’s Microbial Genetics & Genomics Center (MGGen).

The anthrax bacterium produces small capsules, or spores, that can lie dormant for decades. After settling inside the human lung, for example, it can cause a severe disease that, if not treated with antibiotics, kills 90 percent of those it infects.

Anthrax is found in many parts of the globe and dispersed through the human movement of animal parts contaminated with spores. Wool and hair from goats and sheep are moved globally as textiles or their precursors. When these originate in anthrax endemic regions, they can carry the spores, which are long-lived. While this bacterium has little variation from strain to strain, whole genome sequencing has identified DNA fingerprints that enable molecular epidemiology, tracing it to its source. When anthrax outbreaks occur, their whole genome profile are now routinely compared to the genetic database to identify possible sources and exclude others. This type of analysis was used by the FBI to track the spores in the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, which infected 22 people and killed five.

The Soviet Union had signed the Biological Weapons convention that prohibited the use of biological agents, including anthrax, as weapons. The United States’ biological weapons program was eliminated in a decree by President Richard Nixon in 1969, but the Soviet program was maintained and expanded in a covert fashion for decades.

In 1992, an investigative team from the United States led by noted Harvard biologist Dr. Matt Meselson characterized the 1979 Sverdlovsk outbreak by interviewing local physicians, visiting cemeteries and examining autopsy specimens. This investigation, along with accounts by Ken Alibek, a former Soviet scientist, revealed that the Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak was due to an industrial accident.  A faulty filter at a Soviet spore production facility allowed anthrax spores, in a silent plume, to drift with the wind over the city and into the nearby countryside. Nearly 70 Sverdlovsk inhabitants died as far as three miles downwind from the facility, but more anthrax-susceptible farm animals died over 25 miles away. It remains the world’s deadliest human outbreak of inhalation anthrax.

The bacterial genomes were generated from autopsy tissue specimens of two Sverdlovsk anthrax victims. These tissues were moved to the United States with permission of Sverdlovsk pathologists to continue the investigation into the disease outbreak. From these, it was established that the anthrax pathogen was detected within their tissues and the victims died from inhaling the spores.

The Sverdlovsk anthrax genome was compared to the global genome database maintained by NAU to identify its close relatives and to look for evidence of genetic engineering. The Flagstaff research team found that this strain was closely related to other Asian isolates with very few differences to naturally occurring anthrax. There were no signs of genetic engineering.

Dr. Keim notes that the Soviets had to be very meticulous to avoid mutant variants from dominating their production stock. Invariably when wild anthrax strains are grown extensively in the laboratory, they adapt to those conditions and lose the killing power.

“The Sverdlovsk strain’s genome looked very much like those of wild strains we see across Asia,” Dr. Keim said.

Dr. Meselson, who was not part of the current paper, notes: “If this strain had been grown repeated in the laboratory, it would have mutated to a form that had less virulence and less capacity to cause anthrax. The Soviet scientists must been very meticulous in their maintenance of the natural form.”

Dr. Meselson, who is the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard, is known for his 1961 discovery of messenger RNA.

This study was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Study validates TGen developed test for healthcare-acquired infections

Molecular-based KlebSeq assay could save lives and lower healthcare costs

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Sept. 2, 2016 — A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) details the design and validation of a low-cost, rapid and highly accurate screening tool — known as KlebSeq  — for potentially deadly healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), such as Klebsiella pneumoniae. HAIs affect hundreds of thousands of patients annually and add nearly $10 billion in associated healthcare costs.

The findings, to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, detail the workings of the KlebSeq test at detecting HAIs earlier, in particular Klebsiella, which has multiple strains, such as ST258, which are increasingly resistant to treatment by antibiotics.

Unlike traditional assays that require growing a live culture in a laboratory setting, which adds days to the testing process and layers on cost, KlebSeq employs a technique called amplicon sequencing that identifies the presence of Klebsiella and stratifies its characteristics, such as strain type and whether it may be antibiotic resistant.

“KlebSeq is able to accurately and consistently identify and characterize Klebsiella from many different types of specimen samples, including blood, urine, nasal swabs, and respiratory fluids,” said Dr. Jolene Bowers, a Post-Doctoral fellow in TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, TGen North, and the paper’s first author.

In 2015, Bowers co-led a study published in PLOS One, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which documented the rapid global spread of ST258.

According to the CDC, nearly 2 million Americans annually contract bacterial infections that are resistant to at least one antibiotic, and 23,000 die each year from such infections, nearly twice as many who die of AIDS.

“Improved testing technology holds great potential for the rapid detection of HAIs and more quickly identifying antibiotic-resistant infections, such as K. pneumoniae, which have become an urgent public health crisis,” said Bowers. “KlebSeq is a perfect example of the power of genomic-based analytical tools that deliver results faster, more accurately and at a lower cost.”

According to Dr. David Engelthaler, Director of Programs and Operations for TGen North, and one of the authors of the study, transmission of multidrug-resistant strains of K. pneumoniae is rapid and without initial symptoms, leading to outbreaks in the healthcare system and the community that often go undetected.

“Early detection of K. pneumoniae in healthcare patients, especially those with multidrug-resistant strains, is critical to infection control,” said Dr. Engelthaler, who also is a former epidemiologist for the state of Arizona. “Perhaps most concerning is that Kleb acts like a shuttle for critical resistance genes, often transmitting them to other HAI species. It is important for us to detect both the bacteria and these critical genes.”

KlebSeq can be used for routine screening and surveillance, enabling healthcare staff to make more informed patient decisions, and curb outbreak situations by rapidly identifying transmissions prior patients showing signs of infection. Classifying the type of infection in each patient would help enable an institution to decide when and which intervention procedures to enact.

Study results suggest that KlebSeq would be especially helpful for high-risk patients — those in intensive-care units, centers specializing in bone marrow transplantation or chronically immunosuppressed patients, long-term care facilities, and travelers returning from endemic regions.

“The sensitivity of KlebSeq is superior to culture-based methods,” said Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen North and the senior author of the study.

“KlebSeq is an important step toward a comprehensive, yet accessible, tool for all pathogen identification and characterization,” said Dr. Keim, who also is the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at Northern Arizona University, and Director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen).

The results also suggest that KlebSeq could be easily modified to detect other healthcare-acquired infectious agents, and identify those with antimicrobial resistance. It could also be used for outbreak detection, transmission mapping and tracing the source of infections by being able to screen hundreds of patient samples simultaneously, at a cost of tens of dollars per patient.

KlebSeq: A Diagnostic Tool for Surveillance, Detection, and Monitoring of Klebsiella pneumoniae, will be published in the October 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Nov. 6 stepNout 5K aims for another $1 million for TGen cancer research

11th annual stepNout Run/Walk/Dash seeks end to pancreatic cancer, soon the nation’s 3rd leading cause of cancer death

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Aug. 25, 2016 — This year, pancreatic cancer is projected to eclipse breast cancer as the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is determined to reverse this trend in pancreatic cancer by enlisting the help of more than 1,000 participants at the 11th annual stepNout Run/Walk/Dash for pancreatic cancer research, Nov. 6 in Scottsdale.

“We are incredibly grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who have truly accelerated the development of new treatments for pancreatic cancer,” said Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation. “These generous runners and community leaders have brought hope and answers to pancreatic cancer patients around the world.”

Be sure to put on your running shoes for stepNout, a family-friendly morning of races, music, games, and activities — including a photo booth and face painting — all celebrating TGen’s efforts to stomp out pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, TGen Distinguished Professor and Physician-In-Chief, said more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer are needed. Pancreatic cancer this year will take the lives of nearly 42,000 Americans, a more than 10 percent increase in the past 5 years.

“The death rate for other leading cancers have been flat in recent years because of more effective treatments,” said Dr. Von Hoff. “We are making progress in treating patients with improvement in average survival and for the first time having some very long term survivors. We need continued, dedicated funding to improve on these promising results to our studies and benefit pancreatic patients who need our help now.”

Median survival for patients with advanced disease was less than 6 months, and the 5-year survival rate was less than 10 percent. But thanks to fundraising efforts like stepNout, these statistics are improving.

Under Dr. Von Hoff’s leadership, and in collaboration with HonorHealth, TGen pioneered a major international clinical trial that led the FDA in 2013 approved the use of Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, which now is the nation’s standard of care for this disease. Two ongoing TGen-led studies are showing even greater promise, with tumor reductions of at least 30 percent in 3 in 4 patients, and the elimination of tumors in 1 in 5 patients.

Competitive and fun races at stepNout are geared for all ages and abilities, including the event’s signature 5K run. Online registration ends Nov. 1, though participants can register at the event. This is the third year stepNout will be at the Scottsdale Sports Complex, northeast of Bell and Hayden roads.

The annual event has raised more than $1 million since it started in 2006. Nearly $135,000 was raised last year, and organizers are aiming for $150,000 this year on their way towards an overall goal of $2 million.

And you don’t have to be at stepNout to help. You can donate at


If you go to stepNout:

What: TGen’s 11th annual stepNout Run/Walk/Dash for pancreatic cancer research.
Where: Scottsdale Sports Complex, 8081 E. Princess Drive, northeast of Hayden and Bell roads, between Loop 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.
When: 7:30-11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6.  Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.; a competitive 5K run begins at 9 a.m.; a fun 1-mile run/walk starts at 9:15 a.m.; a free 50-yard kids’ dash is planned for 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Registration fees range from $10 to $30, depending on age. Costs increase by $5 after Oct. 21. Children ages 5 and under are free.
Parking: Free.
More information and registration: and click on events. Contact Andrea Daly at (602) 343-8572 or by email at

U.S. issues patent for Valley Fever detection technology developed by TGen and NAU

Test for dust-borne fungal infection created by TGen and NAU is licensed to DxNA 

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Aug. 2, 2016 — Valley Fever, a potentially deadly dust-borne fungal disease, should be easier to diagnose and treat thanks to a testing technology developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University (NAU), and now protected by a patent issued today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

TGen and NAU have exclusively licensed this technology to DxNA LLC, a company based in St. George, Utah, which plans to make this Valley Fever Test commercially available to hospitals and clinics upon completion of FDA clinical trials and a subsequent FDA 510(k) submission for review and clearance later this year.

Valley Fever is endemic to Phoenix and Tucson, but also is spreading throughout the arid regions of North and South America. It is an infection caused by the microscopic fungus Coccidioides, a pathogen that lives in desert soils and typically enters the body through the lungs. An estimated 150,000 Americans are infected annually by Valley Fever, and as many as 500 die each year.

“Currently, there is no definitive test for Valley Fever. Our new rapid, 1-hour, genetic-based test will provide physicians and patients with a precise diagnosis, enabling prompt treatment and preventing this disease from becoming more serious,” said Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, or TGen North, based in Flagstaff.

“For the past decade, TGen has worked to develop better tools and technology to address Valley Fever, and we think it is critical to be able to apply our cutting-edge science to problems in our own backyard,” said Dr. Keim, who also is the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at NAU, and Director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen).

Valley Fever most commonly causes a progressive lung infection, but can also spread to other parts of the body, including the skin, bone, brain and the rest of the nervous system.

Nearly 60 percent of those infected by Valley Fever — including other vertebrates, and especially dogs — develop no significant symptoms. However, some patients develop highly debilitating symptoms, such as cough, fever and fatigue. These symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases caused by bacteria or virus, and often lead to delayed diagnoses and inappropriate treatment. Very severe Valley Fever can require lifelong treatment with antifungal drugs, and even result in death.

This new genetic-based test can precisely identify both strains of Valley Fever: Coccidioides posadasii, found in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and much of Latin America, and Coccidioides immitus, which is found in California, Washington and Baja Mexico.

Most infections occur in central and southern Arizona. Each year on average, there are an estimated 150,000 cases in Arizona, resulting in more than 1,700 hospitalizations at a cost of more than $86 million.

“These high costs are driven to a significant degree by the high level of misdiagnosis, resulting in an average time to diagnosis of 5 months from when a patient first seeks care,” said David Taus, CEO of DxNA LLC. “Our test provides definitive results in 60 minutes, dramatically improving the diagnosis of the disease over current methodologies, both in terms of time and accuracy.”

The intellectual property used in DxNA’s Valley Fever Test is exclusive to DxNA LLC, and covers both human and veterinary applications, Taus said.

‘Cycle for the Cure’ Raises a Record $248,725 for Cancer Research at TGen

Philanthropists Sherry and Richard Holson are instrumental in securing $100,000 in donations from Guarantee Trust Life

PHOENIX, Ariz. —  This year’s Cycle for the Cure already was on track to be one of the most successful in its six years of raising cancer research funds for the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

But thanks to additional donations generated by Guarantee Trust Life of Glenview, Ill., the 6th annual Cycle for the Cure garnered a record $248,725 for TGen.

The May 1 event, which featured hundreds of dedicated donors spinning on stationary cycles for up to 2 hours at several health clubs in Phoenix and Scottsdale, produced $173,725.

But Vicki Vaughn, Co-Chair of Cycle for the Cure, wasn’t finished.

After introducing her friends — Richard S. Holson III, Chairman, CEO and President of Guarantee Trust Life, and his wife, Sherry — to TGen, the Holson’s company invited TGen cancer researcher Dr. Will Hendricks and TGen Foundation Vice President Erin Massey to present at Guarantee Trust Life’s recent company conference in Arizona. The company was impressed and donated $25,000, part of the initial tally for Cycle for the Cure.

Then, after company officials toured TGen laboratories, they challenged their partners and representatives to donate to Cycle for the Cure. They raised a combined $37,500, which Guarantee Trust Life matched, dollar-for-dollar, adding another $75,000 to the $25,000 the company already donated, bringing the total generated by Guarantee Trust Life to $100,000.

“TGen should be very grateful to my wife, Sherry, and Vicki Vaughn as they were responsible for introducing my company to this amazing organization. We were impressed with, and inspired by, the remarkable people at TGen and the world-class, life-changing research being conducted,” said Richard Holson. “And the response by our agents with their contributions was great.”

Using genomic sequencing, TGen helps doctors match the appropriate therapy to each patient’s DNA profile, producing the greatest patient benefit. This year, Cycle for the Cure raised research funds for work on a revolutionary diagnostic method called “liquid biopsies” — biomarkers in circulating blood — as a means of providing patients and their doctors with early detection of disease.

“We believe everyone should know first-hand about the groundbreaking research going on at TGen, and we encourage everyone to join us in supporting the vital work TGen does,” said Vicki Vaughn, who co-chaired Cycle for the Cure with Robyn DeBell.

Village Health Clubs and Studio 360 provided the venues for this year’s Cycle for the Cure. In addition, yoga and kinesis classes were included in the fundraising events by Village Health Clubs at its DC Ranch and Camelback locations.

“We are incredibly proud to have merited the dedicated support of volunteer co-chairs Vicki Vaughn and Robyn DeBell,” said TGen Foundation President Michael Bassoff. “Their extraordinary leadership, and the generosity of business leaders like Rick Holman and the Guarantee Trust Life company, provides an incredible boost to TGen’s cancer research initiatives.”

Donations continue to be accepted at And save the date for next year’s 7th annual Cycle for the Cure: April 30, 2017.

World-renowned Sarod Maestro Plays Benefit Concert for TGen

Amjad Ali Khan’s fundraiser Sept. 3 at the Tempe Center for the Arts will help hundreds of Arizona children with rare medical disorders

TEMPE, Ariz. Sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan — who has graced the most celebrated stages of the globe and shared musical billings with artists as varied as Queen Latifah and Steven Tyler — will perform a benefit concert for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Khan and other Indian classical musicians will perform at 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, to benefit TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders (C4RCD).

“Sarod for C4RCD” will feature: a solo by Khan on his lute-like stringed instrument; a duet by his son, seventh-generation sarod master Ayaan Ali Bangash, and Grammy-nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova; and a third set with all three musicians plus tabla (Indian two-piece drum) extraordinaire Anubrata Chatterjee.

“It is indeed a matter of great joy and honor for me to present my music for the music lovers of Phoenix,” said Khan. “I am so humbled to be associated with the Center for Rare Childhood Disorders at TGen.”

He was invited to perform in Phoenix at the benefit concert by Indian-born Dr. Vinodh Narayanan, Medical Director of TGen’s C4RCD, which since 2012 has harnessed the latest in genomic sequencing technology to pinpoint the genetic causes of rare medical disorders.

“This music from my beloved India reaches in and touches the soul; it is something anyone can appreciate and enjoy,” said Dr. Narayanan. “The fact that it will be performed by the world’s top artists makes this fundraising event something not to be missed. It is indeed a chance of a lifetime for all of us in Arizona. It’s an event that will benefit hundreds of children struggling to survive rare and difficult-to-treat medical conditions.”

Khan has performed at: the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival in Adelaide, Australia, and New Plymouth, New Zealand; Edinburgh International (Music) Festival in Scotland; World Beat Festival in Brisbane, Australia, and Taranaki, New Zealand; The BBC Proms in London; Shiraz Arts Festival in Iran; Hong Kong Arts Festival; Adelaide Music Festival; 1200 Years celebration of Frankfurt; WOMAD Festival in Rivermead, England; and the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

He has been a regular performer at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Victoria Hall in Geneva, Chicago Symphony Center, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

In 2014, Amjad Ali Khan and his sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, performed at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert along with a lineup that included Queen Latifah, Steven Tyler, Nuno Bettencourt and Laura Mvula.

In January, Khan performed for His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebration in New Delhi.

Tickets for the Sept. 3 concert are $200, $150 and $100 with all proceeds benefiting TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders. Tickets may be purchased at the Tempe Center for the Arts box office, by telephone at 480-350-2TCA (2822) or online at

Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

For more information about these artists, please visit:

Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation funds new ARCS Scholar



The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) is providing a scholarship for John Heffernan, an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholar. Heffernan is currently pursuing a Ph.D in bioengineering at Arizona State University and plans to focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain cancer research.

The Ivy Foundation is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America and has been dedicated to furthering brain cancer research since 2005.

“We are pleased to be able to help John further his studies in such a critical area,” said Catherine Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. “With support from Ivy Foundation and ARCS, we hope John can take the steps necessary to grow in this crucial phase of his scientific career.”

The ARCS Foundation advances science and technology in the United States by providing financial awards to academically outstanding U. S. citizens studying to complete degrees in science, engineering and medical research. ARCS Scholars are selected annually by a number of qualifying departments within the ARCS Foundation’s 54 academic partner universities.

The ARCS Foundation Phoenix recently held their 41st Annual Scholar Awards Dinner at the Phoenix Country Club. The proceeds provide financial awards to outstanding graduate Ph.D. science students attending Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU) and University of Arizona (UA).

The Phoenix Chapter currently has 39 scholars and has awarded over $5,692,900 to 935 scholars at the three Arizona state universities since 1975.

Posted by:

AZ Business Magazine

About AZ Business Magazine

Over the past 30 years, AZ Big Media has grown to encompass not just Az Business magazine, but also a whole host of other publications and signature events. Az Business magazine is the state’s leading business publication. Published by AZ Big Media, the magazine covers a wide-range of topics focusing on the Arizona business scene, and is aimed at high-level corporate executives and business owners.

MRSA Detection Technology Developed by TGen-NAU is Granted First Patent

Test for ‘superbug’ bacterial infections created by DxNA under license from TGen-NAU

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Antibiotic-resistant infections should be easier to detect, and hospitals could become safer, thanks to a technology developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University (NAU), and protected under a patent issued by Australia.

Soon, similar patent approvals are expected by the U.S., Canada, European Union, Japan, Brazil and other nations for this “superbug” test developed by TGen and NAU, and licensed to DxNA LLC, a company based in St. George, Utah.

“This rapid, 1-hour test will precisely identify a family of antibiotic-resistant Staphinfections we broadly refer to as MRSA,” said Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, or TGen North, based in Flagstaff.

“We hope this technology will be adopted worldwide by hospitals and clinics, and will help identify and isolate these dangerous and difficult-to-eliminate infections that have come to plague our medical institutions,” said Dr. Keim, who also is the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at NAU, and Director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen). “The result should be more rapid diagnosis, improved treatment of patients, and reduced medical costs.”

MRSA — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — is an antibiotic-resistant form of the Staph bacteria that annually kills more Americans than HIV.

While MRSA technically refers to one particular strain of Staph, the genomics-based test developed by TGen, NAU and DxNA can precisely detect multiple types of drug-resistant Staph bacterial infections, including drug resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus (CSN), a much more common infection than MRSA.

Staph infections are the most common hospital-acquired or associated infections. While most of the focus over the past few years has been on MRSA, in terms of incidence and total cost, strains of Staph other than MRSA are a much more common problem.

Due to the increasing use of implantable biomaterials and medical devices, infections are increasingly caused by CNS. This is a type of Staph that is often resistant to multiple antibiotics and has a particular affinity for these devices.

“Rapid identification and differentiation of these resistant bacteria is key to optimizing treatment decisions that significantly impact patient outcomes and cost of care,” said David Taus, CEO of DxNA LLC. “Given that resistant CNS is a frequent pathogen in surgical site infections, orthopedic and cardiac device infections, and blood stream infections — among others — it is critical that we be able to rapidly identify and determine antibiotic resistance to provide for appropriate pre-surgical antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent infections and early and effective treatment when these infections do occur.”

Current molecular tests for MRSA all ignore CNS, rendering their results significantly less useful in treating patients given that drug resistant CNS infections are many times more common than MRSA.

DxNA’s Staphylococcus Test identifies and differentiates resistant and non-resistant strains of Staph and CNS. The test uses three separate proprietary biomarker targets and a proprietary methodology to determine which types of Staph are present, and which carry the gene that causes antibiotic-resistance in these bacteria.

“The test also is effective in identifying infected specimens where there are multiple types of Staph. The test will rapidly provide broader clinically-actionable results, improving antibiotic prophylaxis, early targeted intervention resulting in more effective treatment at lower costs,” Taus said.

Macy’s ‘Shop For A Cause’ Aug. 26-28 Supports Cancer Research at TGen

All proceeds from ‘Shop For A Cause’ shopping passes benefit TGen pancreatic cancer patients; shoppers receive substantial discounts

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Here is one more reason to do your back-to-school shopping at Macy’s:  “Shop For A Cause” shopping passes will provide needed research dollars for the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), benefitting pancreatic cancer patients.

This 11th annual “Shop For A Cause” at Macy’s is no longer a one-day event. This year, “Shop For A Cause” passes will be honored at Macy’s throughout the weekend of Aug. 26-28.

Now through Aug. 25, “Shop For A Cause” passes may be purchased for only $5 by visiting or by calling 602-343-8411. Shopping passes will provide up to 25 percent off most merchandise, and provide an opportunity to win a $500 Macy’s gift card.

“More than ever, Macy’s is finding ways to help charity and non-profit organizations, such as TGen, to help those in need,” said Dr. Haiyong Han, Associate Professor of TGen’s Clinical Translational Research Division. “ ‘Shop For A Cause’ will benefit pancreatic cancer patients who desperately need our help today.”

This year, pancreatic cancer will surpass breast cancer as America’s third-leading cause of cancer-related death, with more than 53,000 newly diagnosed patients, and nearly 42,000 deaths. More than 75 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year of diagnosis, and fewer than 10 percent survive for more than 5 years.

The pancreas is a banana-shaped organ behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes, as well as hormones such as insulin to help regulate blood sugar. Because there is no screening test, and usually no symptoms in its early stages, pancreatic cancer usually is not diagnosed until its advanced stages, when surgery often is no longer an option and treatment is more difficult.

TGen’s focus is on early detection, and groundbreaking clinical trials, which recently have shown tumor reductions of 30 percent or more in nearly 8 out of 10 advanced pancreatic cancer patients. TGen’s progress could not come at a more critical time. During the past 5 years, as the U.S. population continues to grow, the number of deaths attributed to other leading cause of cancer death — lung, colon and breast cancers — have remained steady, while the number of deaths due to pancreatic cancer have increased by nearly 11 percent.

All dollars — 100 percent — raised in the Phoenix area by “Shop For A Cause” will go toward TGen’s annual stepNout run/walk/dash program, which funds pancreatic cancer research. This year’s stepNout event is scheduled for Nov. 6 at the Scottsdale Sports Complex.

Macy’s “Shop For A Cause” is a unique shopping event dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations’ fundraising efforts. Since 2006, the program has helped raise tens of millions of dollars for charities throughout the nation, and more than 5,000 charities signed up to participate last year.

“At Macy’s, we believe in supporting the communities where our customers and associates live and work. That is why we are so proud of ‘Shop For A Cause,’ ” said Holly Thomas, Macy’s group vice president of cause marketing. “With this year’s extension to a weekend-long event, we’re offering even more opportunity to support local and national causes, and thanking our customers with special savings at Macy’s.”

To find a Macy’s near you, go to For more information about Macy’s “Shop For A Cause,” visit