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Home » Haematology » Rapid lab testing helps diagnose serious blood disorders

Dr. Cornelia Brendel

Head of Diagnostic Laboratories in Hematology-Oncology, University of Marburg

Serious blood conditions are being diagnosed quicker and more accurately through new standardised laboratory sample testing systems

Hi-tech laboratory tests are helping ensure patients with serious blood conditions are diagnosed as promptly as possible.

One of the key techniques is flow cytometry, which rapidly analyses single cells or particles and is used in the diagnosis and follow-up of leukaemia and lymphoma blood cancer.

The approach sees the blood sample, suspended in a reagent for use in the chemical analysis, flow past lasers to give a patient’s immune status and help clinicians in the treatment decision-making process.

Improving workflows

New lab systems are constantly being developed that focus on specific disease analysis or conditions and can deliver results quickly to support the treatment of patients.

Automated techniques are also helping make processes more efficient by improving workflows for technicians and ensuring that the repetitive manual movements involved in analysing samples are carried out by machine.

Reduced manual input of the pipetting – dispensing a measured volume of liquid – into the analyser also cuts down errors.

Clinical flow cytometry assays can rapidly characterise normal and aberrant cells rapidly, often providing a result within two hours, ensuring that issues of antigen degradation or retrieval is avoided.

Standardising steps

Manufacturer Beckman Coulter’s ClearLLab 10 System is specifically designed for analysis of leukaemia and lymphoma samples, as well as other haematological malignancies.

The in-vitro diagnostic test system features a pre-formulated antibody panel and within it, the workflow is reduced to four standardised steps of sample processing, sample acquisition, reporting and validation.

Lab specialist Dr Cornelia Brendel from the University of Marberg in Germany underlines the importance of keeping pre-analytic conditions and procedures simple and constant in the process.

“By maintaining little variance in reagents, staining protocols and analysis procedures, we ensure reliability of the diagnostic platform so that we can discern even subtle true biologic variations in patient samples,” she says.

Technicians like the simplified staining procedures and results appear more trustworthy.

Dry reagent

The system – which features 10 colour panels – uses dry reagent technology, rather than liquid, which is easier to handle and can be kept at room temperature.

She also notes that this makes the sample staining more fail-safe with less hands-on time, enabling higher sample throughput.

Whilst still adapting to the system – which is CE marked and it will be compliant with the new European IVDR regulations, which are due to come into force next year – she says it is already showing benefits in her laboratory.

“Technicians like the simplified staining procedures and results appear more trustworthy,” she says. “Sample preparation is simple and fast and pipetting errors are ruled out, making the data more reliable.”

Standardised procedures

Dr Brendel says that using the standardised procedures can help synchronise and harmonise flow of cytometric data interpretation between different laboratories or university centres.

Consented panel optimisation could be translated into constant off-the-shelf reagents,” she adds. “With focus on support by artificial intelligences in the near future standardisation will become even more important.”

She believes these systems can change the work of laboratory medicine professionals, reduce complexity of staining procedures for laboratory technicians and make training and education more straightforward.

The ClearLLab 10 B cell tube and T cell tube are currently under evaluation in her laboratory but both tubes provide a comprehensive multicolour panel useful to diagnose lymphomas.

She added that the ClearLLab 10C panels match the 2006 Bethesda international consensus recommendations for optimal reagents for immunophenotyping of haematolymphoid diseases.

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