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Summit, Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine to Develop Saliva Tests for COVID, Head & Neck Cancer

AURORA, Colo., Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Summit Biolabs, Inc., an early-stage molecular diagnostics company specializing in saliva-based testing for COVID-19 and head & neck cancer, and the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus announced today a broad strategic collaboration involving research, development and commercialization of saliva liquid-biopsy tests for early cancer detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 and other viral contagions.

The CCPM holds one of the largest research biobanks in the United States with clinical data from more than 8.7 million de-identified patient records and plans to integrate the data with personalized genomic information.

“This partnership brings two innovative programs together to optimize COVID testing at a time when it’s desperately needed,” says Kathleen Barnes, Ph.D., Professor and Director of CCPM at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “Collaborations like this are crucial in moving research forward and advancing and expanding clinical testing to as many members of our community as possible. Working with Summit Biolabs, and leveraging technology developed by our colleagues here at the Anschutz Medical Campus, will help us achieve these goals and establish a non-invasive testing process that will benefit patients in Colorado and beyond.”

Summit Biolabs is developing breakthrough tests to improve the detection of COVID-19 and to advance the early detection of human cancers, including head & neck cancer, using simple, non-invasive saliva liquid-biopsy technology developed by Dr. Shi-Long Lu and colleagues at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Head & neck cancer has been scientifically overlooked, yet is medically important. Summit Biolabs’ research foundation and competency in head & neck cancer diagnosis enabled the company’s pivot to saliva-based testing for coronavirus, COVID-19.

“We are excited to collaborate with CCPM to develop and commercialize Summit Biolabs’ portfolio of developmental saliva or non-blood liquid-biopsy tests.” said Bob Blomquist, Chief Executive Officer at Summit Biolabs. “This collaboration broadens and strengthens Summit Biolabs’ ability to bring to market life-changing saliva liquid-biopsy tests that ultimately enable better treatment and improved outcomes for patients.”

About Summit Biolabs

Summit Biolabs is harnessing the power of saliva-based diagnostics to address critical challenges in COVID-19 and head & neck cancer testing. Founded on the discoveries of Dr. Shi-Long Lu, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Summit Biolabs is being spun out from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Summit Biolabs is pioneering early detection of head & neck cancer recurrence using a first of its kind saliva liquid-biopsy test, HNKlear. HNKlear is a proprietary, non-invasive saliva test that provides more effective, more accurate, and earlier detection of head and neck cancer recurrence than traditional diagnostic methods. Summit Biolabs is leveraging its core competencies in saliva-based molecular diagnostics and viral nucleic acid testing (i.e., oral oncogenic human papillomavirus detection) to diagnose COVID-19. Along with our clinical and laboratory partners, Summit Biolabs is developing the first comprehensive panel of highly-accurate saliva-based tests for COVID-19 infection, quantitation, and immune response. Summit Biolabs is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado.


Positive Virus Tests, Hospitalizations Surge in Colorado | Colorado News

DENVER (AP) — Colorado is experiencing another surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, prompting Gov. Jared Polis to plead Tuesday with residents to wear masks, stay home as much as possible, and maintain social distancing practices.

As of Tuesday, Colorado’s three-day average positivity rate — the percentage of total tests coming in positive — was 5.4%, and the state recorded 1,000 newly confirmed cases both Saturday and Monday, the highest daily numbers recorded during the pandemic, Polis said.

About 290 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest total since May 31, The Denver Post reported.

During a briefing on the pandemic, Polis didn’t suggest he was contemplating renewed mandatory restrictions on business or other activities to stem the surge. But he insisted: “If this continues, our hospital capacity will be in jeopardy.”

The World Health Organization recommends trying to keep the positivity rate below 5% of all tests. Higher rates suggest authorities are missing large numbers of infections.

On Monday, the head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment suggested daily coronavirus caseloads may have surpassed 4,000 in March and April. The numbers weren’t recorded because far fewer people were being tested, said Jill Hunsaker Ryan.

She said the state has experienced three surges: In March and April, after July 4, and after Labor Day, Sept. 7. State data suggest Denver and Adams counties are among those recording the highest numbers of newly confirmed cases.

More than 2,000 people have died and more than 80,000 people have been hospitalized for the disease since the pandemic began.

The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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400-pound bear found sick in Colorado restaurant’s dumpster has to be ‘humanely euthanized’

A 400-pound bear had to be euthanized after it was found in a Colorado restaurant’s dumpster earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Southeast Region tweeted about the incident that happened in Woodland Park, Colorado.

According to the agency, the bear was able to get into the restaurant’s trash because the dumpster wasn’t locked.


Bill Vogrin, a CPW public information officer, told Fox News that the bear — which was estimated to be between 18 and 19 years old — was first found in the dumpster around midnight, but wildlife officers hoped the bear would find its way out overnight.

However, when an officer returned to the dumpster in the morning, the bear was still inside and was struggling to get out.

After wildlife officers tranquilized it and tipped the dumpster over, they saw the bear was having trouble breathing and “was in serious distress,” Vogrin said.


The officers determined the bear was probably too old to recover, so they “humanely euthanized” the bear and performed a necropsy — or autopsy — right there.

“Its stomach was full of garbage, a lot of plastic,” Vogrin said. “[It] was suffering from having spent the night gorging itself in this garbage.”

This 400-pound bear had to be euthanized after it was found struggling to get out of a dumpster in Woodland Park, Colorado, on Wednesday morning. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

This 400-pound bear had to be euthanized after it was found struggling to get out of a dumpster in Woodland Park, Colorado, on Wednesday morning. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife)


Vogrin said the restaurant has never been cited for leaving its dumpster unsecured before, so it will not be fined.

“But they are being cited with a written warning and we’ll be watching them because really, there’s no excuse for this up here,” he said.


“We preach this constantly,” Vogrin said. “‘Garbage kills bears’ is one of our catchphrases.”

He added that securing garbage is especially important for residents and businesses in the fall months because bears are going through something called hyperphagia, which is an increase in feeding that happens as they prepare for hibernation.


Vogrin said during hyperphagia, bears eat 20 hours a day and are trying to consume 20,000 calories a day. Unsecured dumpsters are easier places for bears to get those calories than their typical diet of berries and acorns — but the garbage inside is also deadly.

“It’s a human problem,” Vogrin said. “It’s not a bear problem. We don’t have bad bears, but we have bad humans teaching bears bad habits, to look to humans for food.”


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Colorado Springs dentist provides free services to veterans

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — SmileCOS Dentistry is giving veterans their smiles back through the gift of free, same-day dental work.

In honor of “Freedom Day,” which is a nationwide effort by dentists to give back to the veteran community, SmileCOS is providing each veteran with up to an hour and a half of free dental work each. Procedures range from fillings to extractions.

All staff at SmileCos is working for free for the day, and they’re planning on seeing around 20 veterans Thursday, providing tens of thousands of dollars worth of services.

Dr. Andrew Miller with SmileCOS says many of the vets he’s treated today don’t have access to proper healthcare.

“We want to show them through action we appreciate their service,” says Miller. “Rather than just saying, ‘We appreciate your service.'”

Danielle Staiger, who served in the Air Force for 20 years, says events like this are invaluable to the veteran community.

Though she didn’t serve with the intention of seeking praise, she says it feels nice to be recognized.

“Doing dental work is very expensive, and having where I can come in and get a free day, it feels really nice,” says Staiger. “I felt like I was appreciated for serving my country for 20-plus years.”

Dr. Francisco Darquea, a dentist a SmileCOS, says the practice wouldn’t exist without the sacrifices made by U.S. veterans.

“We are really grateful to provide services for veterans,” says Darquea. “Without them, we would not have the freedom we have now. ”

Find a full list of businesses participating in Freedom Day here.

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Colorado Medical Waste Receives Environmental Leadership Award

An Environmental Leader in the State of Colorado going above and beyond environmental compliance

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability awards Colorado Medical Waste with the Environmental Leadership Program Silver Award. The ELP is a statewide environmental recognition and reward program for facilities that voluntarily go above and beyond compliance of state and federal regulations and are committed to continual environmental improvement for their business and communities as well.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

The ELP logo stencil was sprayed at their facility in Aurora along with a photo taken of available employees. (Photo: Business Wire)

A video by Colorado Governor Jared Polis was presented to virtually celebrate the program’s new members. The ELP logo stencil was sprayed at their facility in Aurora along with a photo taken of available employees.

Inclusion in the CDPHE Environmental Leadership Program was awarded to Colorado Medical Waste for demonstrating its commitment to:

Using the natural oxidizing power of ozone, electricity, and an industrial shredder, waste volume is reduced by 90% to a sterile confetti residual with “ZERO” emissions as ozone reverts back to simple oxygen. Tons of medical waste streams are diverted from landfills, incinerators, and hazardous waste facilities. State of the art processes and technologies reduce the public health effects and environmental impact of traditional autoclave and incineration technologies. Efficacy tests prove ozone is 100x more effective than steam and an environmental alternative to incineration. Reduction of landfilled medical waste and incineration decreases methane greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to global warming and climate change. Colorado Medical Waste and ozone processing bring medical waste management into the 21st century.

Beverly Hanstrom, the company CEO and owner says, “We are leading the industry and are at the forefront of environmental stewardship to reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare and medical waste. Our leadership raises awareness and exemplifies our passion and commitment to make a difference.”

Find us on:

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Related Links:

Environmental Leadership Program:
Environmental Leadership Brochure:

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Beverly Hanstrom, CEO/Owner
Colorado Medical Waste, Inc.
3131 Oakland St.
Aurora, CO 80010
(303) 763-2339 Fax
Email: [email protected]
Links: Brochure | Video | LinkedIn

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Colorado one of just six states where Latinos are more likely to die prematurely than white residents

Colorado has a reputation as a healthy place to live, but that doesn’t seem to benefit the state’s Hispanic residents, who are more likely to die of causes that could have been treated or prevented.

In all but six states, Hispanic Americans are less likely to die of potentially preventable causes than white Americans, according to a Denver Post analysis of data from the Commonwealth Fund’s state health system scorecard.

In Colorado, however, Hispanic residents are about 20% more likely than white residents to die of treatable conditions, such as asthma attacks, diabetes complications, appendicitis or certain cancers. Deaths of people older than 75 aren’t included in the data.

The information was collected before the pandemic, so it doesn’t reflect COVID-19’s disproportionate hit on communities of color.

Colorado’s Hispanic population is more likely to be uninsured and to go without health care, but that’s also true of the rest of the country, including states where they’re less likely to die prematurely.

There’s no one explanation for the disparity in deaths, experts say, with factors including a history of discrimination, Colorado’s high cost of living and unequal access to quality jobs, education and housing playing a role.

Colorado’s white population has one of the lowest rates of premature death in the country, but that doesn’t fully explain the gap. Some other states, like Minnesota and Massachusetts, have lower-than-average rates of preventable deaths for both their white and Hispanic populations. In Colorado, the Hispanic population actually has more preventable deaths than the national average.

The things that make Colorado a healthy place, like the abundant opportunities for outdoor exercise, aren’t equally available to people who work lower-paying jobs and don’t have the money or free time to enjoy them, said Patricia Valverde, a faculty member at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Latino Research and Policy Center. And who works in low-wage jobs, which also tend to be more dangerous and may not offer health insurance, isn’t random, she said.

Denver was a center of a civil rights movement in the 1960s and ’70s because of widespread discrimination against Latinos in education and other parts of public life, Valverde said. While much has improved since then, people who were discriminated against in school were less able to pursue higher education, which then reduced how much they earned later in life and what opportunities they could give their children — all of which contributes to worse health, she said.

“With each generation, their economic opportunities increase, but you’re already starting behind,” she said.

Some parts of the state, like many of the southern counties, have high rates of premature deaths for all ethnic groups, according to data from the Colorado Health Institute. Others, like Denver and Mesa counties, have relatively low rates for white residents, but high ones for Hispanics.

In Denver, predominantly Latino neighborhoods tend to have less access to healthy food and more pollution, said Emily Cervantes, program manager for public policy research and analysis at the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy