Appropriate blood provision for sickle cell disease patients in Northern Ireland

The appropriate selection of blood for transfusion in the ongoing treatment of patients with sickle cell disease is of vital importance. Here, Hannah Caldwell examines the role of sickle solubility testing and molecular genotyping in the care of SCD patients in Northern Ireland.

Alzheimer’s disease: a selection of recent research into biomarkers and genetic factors

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, presenting as a gradual decline in memory, thinking, behaviour and social skills. New tests might be able to diagnose the disease when symptoms are very mild, so that the latest therapeutic advances in the field can be applied. Here, Pathology in Practice Science Editor Brian Nation compiles a small selection of current research interest.

Setting measurement uncertainty limits: a brief introduction to the issues

In this third article in his new series, Stephen MacDonald summarises some interesting highlights of the current understanding of analytical performance specifications and in particular how they are applied to measurement uncertainty.

Digital pathology
worldwide: context,
concerns and case studies

UK laboratories have received unprecedented funding for digital pathology in recent years, resulting in arguably the highest penetration of scanners in a public healthcare setting worldwide. Digitisation is not exclusively happening in the UK, however, and as other countries embark on their own digitalisation journeys, this article examines some pioneering implementations worldwide, ultimately asking what lessons can be learned.

Rapid diagnostics – warts and all: a final preview of the BSMT conference

This year’s British Society for Microbial Technology Annual Microbiology Conference will be held on
2 May at the UKHSA, Colindale, North London.
Here, BSMT Chair Dr Mark Wilks continues his preview of the meeting focusing on antimicrobial resistance, the UK government’s ambitious programme to control it, and how likely it is to succeed.

Group A Streptococcus: introducing a rapid molecular POC test

Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as Group A Streptococcus, is the prime cause of bacterial pharyngitis and results in major disease worldwide. Ranging from non-invasive disease to severe invasive disease such as necrotising fasciitis, toxic shock syndrome and scarlet fever, the infection is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Here, Naomi Mason and colleagues investigate the use of a new near-patient test.

Rapid diagnostics – warts and all: a microbiology conference preview

This year’s Annual Microbiology Conference of the British Society for Microbial Technology will be held at UKHSA in Colindale, North London, on 2 May. As usual, it will cover a range of different topics but this year there is a particular focus on the use of rapid testing in the diagnosis of infectious disease and the detection of antibiotic resistance.

Candida auris: a selection of current research into this drug-resistant fungal pathogen

In the December 2023 issue of this magazine, Markus Meyer looked at how early and accurate identification can assist in controlling outbreaks of Candida auris, thanks to advances in polymerase chain reaction testing and strain typing technology. Here, to complement previous coverage, Pathology in Practice Science Editor Brian Nation compiles a small selection of recent research interest in this important fungal agent.

Learning from external quality assessment: a case of Hb Knossos

Education is an important aspect of the services provided by UK NEQAS schemes operating across laboratory medicine. Here, Bashori Rahman and Barbara De la Salle provide an example using a rare haemoglobin variant circulated as part of their molecular EQA scheme.

The developing market landscape for HIV rapid diagnostic tests

A recently published report into the HIV rapid diagnostic test market landscape, produced in coordination with the World Health Organization, aims for a healthier, more sustainable market. Here, Pathology in Practice presents a summary of the report, including the current state of HIV testing and aims for the near future.

Metrological traceability: examining the way to give our results meaning

With increased awareness of metrological traceability, both from an IVD manufacturer and end-user perspective, improvements in analytical methods are possible. In this second article in his new series on measurement uncertainty, Stephen MacDonald provides a detailed overview of the issues involved.

Benefits of using saliva to diagnose hormone imbalances

Hormone testing is an important diagnostic tool, but there are limitations to using blood for such tests. In this article, Dr Dajana Domik looks at the benefits of saliva diagnostics and the automation technologies that can streamline analysis workflows, as well as sharing the details of a testing facility success story.

Reference range review for the RSR acetylcholine receptor antibody assay

Establishing optimal cut-off values is essential in ensuring excellent results accuracy and quality, a prime example being in facilitating the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis and its appropriate treatment. Here, Rebecca Cottage and colleagues from Manchester report on measures undertaken to check and amend the reference range for anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies.

Expanding the use of genomic sequencing for improved cancer treatment

A recent study concluded that universal molecular testing in stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer is a critical first step in determining the best course of treatment; but adoption of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has been slow. Here, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Dr Luca Quagliata discusses the issues around widespread introduction of NGS and how oncologists and pathologists can use it to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Rapid diagnostics and AMR testing from the blood culture bench

Dr Neil Bentley OBE offers a personal reflection on the impact of rapid diagnostics and antimicrobial resistance testing from the blood culture bench.

ISO 15189:2022 – What does it mean for pathology service delivery?

The new ISO 15189 standard for medical laboratories was published 12 months ago, and is well into a three-year transition period, with inspections under the new standard set to begin soon. Dr David Ricketts – one of the new standard’s authors – writes for Pathology in Practice on the main changes, and what they mean for the delivery of pathology services.

Haemorheology and diabetes – what clinical viscosity could tell us

It has been long established that circulatory and vascular changes play a significant role in long-term complications of diabetes. David Norcliffe and David Manuel explore how clinical viscosity testing could play a role in the care pathways of diabetes patients.

Candida auris – how to control a fast-growing drug-resistant fungal threat

Often resistant to antifungal treatments, as well as being difficult to identify, Candida auris is a type of yeast that can cause severe illness, especially for vulnerable patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Thanks to advances in PCR testing and strain typing technology, early and accurate identification is assisting in controlling outbreaks, explains Markus Meyer.

‘The IBMS has come a long way… and we plan to go much further…’

With the COVID-19 pandemic shining a spotlight on diagnostics and biomedical science, the IBMS implemented a plan to capitalise and to give the profession a voice. IBMS Chief Executive David Wells writes for Pathology in Practice on the significant progress made by the Institute over the past two years, and its ambitions for the future.

HeLa cell culture: a selection of current research using these immortal cells

There can be few medical scientists who have not heard of HeLa cells; the cultured cell line derived from the biopsy of a glandular cervical cancer from an American woman named Henrietta Lacks. The full history both of the lady and her immortal cells is charted eloquently by Rebecca Skloot in her book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Here, some 70 years since the tissue was taken, Pathology in Practice Science Editor Brian Nation compiles a small selection of recent research undertaken using HeLa cells.

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