Randox Horse Tales | Rose Paterson on Foinavon’s 100-1 dream come true in the 1967 Grand National

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Randox Horse Tales | Rose Paterson on Foinavon’s 100-1 dream come true in the 1967 Grand National

The countdown to the Randox Health Grand National continues, with only two weeks to go before the first day of the Festival.

And there’s no one who knows the history of the race better than Aintree Racecourse Chairman, Rose Paterson.  Today she shares her memories of her favourite horse, Foinavon,  and why his unexpected Grand National win in 1967 has become an iconic moment in the history of the great race.

Foinavon is the Forrest Gump of Grand National history, the horse who became immortal despite his best endeavours.

Bred in the purple by the great stallion Vulgan, he was bought as a youngster by Anne, Duchess of Westminster, one of the pre-eminent National Hunt owners of her generation and sent to Tom Dreaper, the Willie Mullins of his day, along with another young horse, Arkle. Both horses were named after mountains on the Westminsters’ Invernesshire estate.

However, while Arkle went on to win three Cheltenham Gold Cups and become the benchmark for NH greatness, Foinavon’s trajectory was in a different direction. Pat Taaffe, Dreaper’s stable jockey, said of him “I never came across a horse with less ambition.”

The final straw was when after a heavy fall, Taaffe scrambled to his feet, desperately worried for Foinavon, who had failed to rise. He found him sitting comfortably on the ground, eating grass.

It was a short journey from this incident to Doncaster sales, where he was snapped up by small time trainer and part-time farrier John Kempton, entirely because he had qualified for the Grand National and one of his few owners, Cyril Watkins, was desperate for a runner. By this time, Foinavon had acquired a white goat named Suzie as a companion, who travelled everywhere with him and with whom he developed a love/hate relationship.

A year later, after 17 consecutive losing runs, Foinavon was ready to have a go. He had already run in the Gold Cup three weeks earlier, at 500-1 and no less than twice since then, without distinction. His jockey, John Buckingham, was the trainer’s third choice and neither owner or trainer could be bothered to make the five hour journey to Aintree.

When the disaster caused by loose horses Popham Down and April Rose unfolded at the smallest fence on the course, universally described as “the one after Becher’s,” Foinavon was so far behind the leaders that he was able to pop a gap in the fence and trundle on to the Canal Turn, leaving a scene of mayhem in his wake.

It was the combination of an intelligent, experienced jockey and an unusually placid horse that probably won him the race.

At the time, the result was seen as a disaster and an embarrassing fiasco. 50 years on, Foinavon’s win seems an iconic moment in the history of the great race.

It was about luck, fate, the victory of the outsider, the 100 – 1 dream come true.

Not for nothing was the first winner of the Grand National called Lottery and there is an equally good reason why the 7th and 23rd fence is now known as Foinavon.

For more information about Randox Horse Tales please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


Randox Horse Tales | Katie Walsh on the partnership with Seabass that made her the most successful female jockey of all time

With less than three weeks’ to go before the Randox Health Grand National, we’re really starting to feel the excitement!

Those who’ve ridden over the famous fences at Aintree never forget it. The most successful female jockey of all time, Katie Walsh, shares her memories of Seabass in the 2012 Grand National, when she came third.

I remember every single bit of it. You don’t forget things like that.

It was a fantastic time and I had some brilliant months in the lead up to it. I won a couple of good races in the build up to the Grand National.

And for Seabass to be the horse that I rode that day, made it all the more magical. This is definitely at the top of my list.

He’d been trained by my father and we’ve been involved with horses for so long that we know how hard it is to have a horse for the Grand National – things can change every day.  It’s like someone saying, “I’m going to be President.” That’s how slim the chances are for it to all work out, so I really appreciate how lucky we were to be there.

Seabass is a gorgeous horse and I absolutely love him.

The biggest difficulty we had was keeping him sound.  Seabass was a lovely horse but he wasn’t the easiest to keep sound. You see that a lot in elite athletes – sometimes it’s just incredibly difficult to stay fit. And to be in with a shot of getting into the National, you have to keep a horse high enough in the handicaps so it’s constant work – you’ve got to be really careful what you do and how you treat them.

If you look back at his record, Seabass was off for a couple of seasons simply because he has legs of glass, he’s really fragile. There were many different problems over the years which had to be treated and we did a lot of swimming with him. A lot a lot of work went into minding his legs!

The actual race – I could tell you every moment. It was like a dream, the whole ride was fantastic and everything worked out super! Seabass travelled so well – it was a competitive year that year and on another he might have won.

But I was over the moon when we crossed the line in third.

It meant a lot to people that a female jockey had done so well. It featured heavily in the interviews I did afterwards and still does to be honest.

The whole family were there– Ruby wasn’t actually riding himself that day, he’d had a fall earlier. So they were all watching. We’re a pretty special unit – very close – and they were thrilled for us.

Once it was over though, I went straight into the usual routine. In fact I jumped in the car and went to Newmarket. Life goes on!

But once you’ve achieved something like that in the Grand National life does change. Off the back of it I became an Aintree ambassador which is a huge honour and something that I absolutely love.

I can’t wait for the Randox Health Grand National this year!

For more information about Randox Horse Tales please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


How Randox R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare: Investing in prevention rather than cure with the Adiponectin test

The theme this year for British Science Week is change. At Randox, our R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare. By investing heavily into research and development to develop unique diagnostics tests, Randox provide doctors with the ability to identify disease risk sooner- offering the opportunity to prevent illness, rather than the need to find a cure.

One unique test by Randox, adiponectin, is becoming an increasingly significant biomarker for health professionals. Low levels have been linked with several illnesses including metabolic syndrome, cancer and cardiovascular disease.


What is adiponectin?

Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced and secreted by fat cells called adipose tissue. Adiponectin is normally found in relatively high concentrations in healthy individuals. Its role in the body is to regulate the metabolism of lipids and glucose, which influences the body’s response to insulin and inflammation.


Adiponectin and abdominal visceral fat

Adiponectin levels are inversely correlated with abdominal visceral fat, meaning that lower levels of adiponectin are related to higher amounts of visceral fat in the body.¹ Visceral fat is stored around vital organs and higher levels of this type of fat can be associated with a range of conditions including insulin resistance, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. These factors can subsequently increase a patient’s chance of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and in some cases cancer. In fact, it has been found that patients with high abdominal visceral fat or low adiponectin levels have a three-fold increased risk of insulin resistance, with a combination of both doubling this probability.2


Adiponectin as a biomarker

Due to the protective properties of adiponectin, for example in increasing insulin sensitivity or preventing atherosclerosis, adiponectin has been classified as novel and important for a number of reasons.3 A range of studies have demonstrated why adiponectin levels should be considered as a routine test.

Adiponectin and Type 2 Diabetes

Increasing evidence suggests adiponectin is a valid biomarker related to type 2 diabetes.  In fact, one study suggests that adiponectin is a powerful marker of diabetes risk in subjects at high risk.4 Decreased adiponectin has been found to be an independent risk factor for the progression of type 2 diabetes.5

Other evidence shows that adiponectin is also a beneficial measure of diabetes treatment response. A recent study has emerged which has found that dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, which are used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, increase adiponectin levels and have a stronger effect in comparison to traditional oral antidiabetic drugs.6

Adiponectin and Gestational Diabetes

Adiponectin levels are also of interest during pregnancy. If a woman has lower adiponectin concentration during the first trimester of pregnancy, they are 3.5 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes.7,8

Adiponectin and Cardiovascular Disease

A range of evidence exists linking serum adiponectin concentration and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have found low levels of adiponectin can have an adverse effect, for example one study suggests adiponectin levels are an independent predictor of CHD in Caucasian men with no previous history of CHD.9 Low adiponectin concentrations have also been associated with myocardial infarction (a heart attack) in individuals below the age of 60, and also been linked with increased risk of new-onset hypertension in men and postmenopausal women.10,11

Adiponectin and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Studies have also been conducted to examine the relationship between adiponectin and BPH. BPH is a common condition which is usually associated with men over 50 years of age and causes enlargement of the prostate. Higher adiponectin levels have been associated with reduced risk of BPH, as adiponectin has a protective effect in the progression of BPH.12,13,14

Adiponectin and Cancer

Lower levels of adiponectin have been found to increase the risk of endometrial cancer in women, and also prostate and pancreatic cancer in men.14,15 Researchers have been able to identify that serum adiponectin is inversely linked to the risk of obesity-associated cancers including endometrial cancer, renal cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, colon cancer and leukaemia.16,17, 18

 

Why measure adiponectin?

As demonstrated above, the clinical significance of adiponectin is widely studied and has been linked to a range of diseases in which overweight or obese patients are proven to be at higher risk of developing. Measuring serum concentration of adiponectin to determine visceral fat levels is proven to be a more reliable indicator of at-risk patients in comparison to conventional methods of determining whether a patient is overweight or obese, such as body mass index (BMI) or measuring waist circumference.19

Our commitment to research and development ensures that unique tests, such as adiponectin, are available for use by health professionals. Scientists at Randox are continuing to change healthcare every day with their research to develop revolutionary diagnostic solutions. By placing a continual focus on assessing the risk of diseases rather than diagnosing the illness after it has occurred and providing patients with the tools to take preventative action, Randox are helping to change healthcare globally.

For more information, email: reagents@randox.com

adiponectin

  1. Kishida, K., Kim, K. K., Funshashi, T., Matsuzawa, Y., Kang, H. C., Shimomura, I. Relationships between circulating adiponectin levels and fat distribution in obese subjects. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis18(7):592-595 (2011)
  2. Medina-Urrutia, A., Posadas-Romero, C., Posadas-Sánchez, R., Jorge-Galarza, E., Villarreal-Molina, T., González-Salazar, M. C., Cardoso-Saldaña, G., Vargas-Alarcón, G., Torres-Tamayo, M. and Juárez-Rojas, J. G. Role of adiponectin and free fatty acids on the association between abdominal visceral fat and insulin resistance. Cardiovascular Diabetology, vol. 14, no. 20 (2015).
  3. Chandran, M., Phillips, S. A., Ciaraldi, T., Henry, R. R. Adiponectin: More than just another fat cell hormone? Diabetes Care. 26(8): 2442-2450 (2003)
  4. Daimon, M., Oizumi, T., Saitoh, T., Kameda, W., Hirata, A., Yamaguchi, H., Ohnuma, H., Igarashi, M., Tominaga, M., Kato, T. and Funagata Study. Decreased serum levels of adiponectin are a risk factor for the progression to type 2 diabetes in the Japanese population. Diabetes Care, vol. 26, no. 7, p. 2015-2020 (2003).
  5. Mather, K. J., Funahashi, T., Matsuzawa, Y., Edelstein, S., Bray, G. A., Kahn, S. E., Crandall, J., Marcovina, S., Goldstein, B., Goldberg, R. and Diabetes Prevention Program. Adiponectin, change in adiponectin, and progression to diabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program. Diabetes, vol. 57, no. 4, p. 980-986 (2008).
  6. Liu, X., Men, P., Wang, Y., Zhai, S., Liu, G. Impact of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors on serum adiponectin: a meta-analysis. Lipids in Health and Disease. 15:204 (2016)
  7. Lacroix, M., Battista, M.C., Doyon, M., Ménard, J., Ardilouze, J.L., Perron, P. and Hivert M. F. Lower adiponectin levels at first trimester of pregnancy are associated with increased insulin resistance and higher risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care, vol. 36, no. 6, p. 1577-83 (2013).
  8. Hedderson, M. M., Darbinian, J., Havel, P. J., Quesenberry, C. P., Sridhar, S., Ehrlich, S. and Ferrara, A. Low prepregnancy adiponectin concentrations are associated with a marked increase in risk for development of gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care, vol. 36, no. 12, p. 3930-7 (2013).
  9. Tsimikas, S., Mallat, Z., MD, Talmud, P. J., Kastelein, J. J. P., Wareham, N. J., Sandhu, M. S., Miller, E. R., Benessiano, J., Tedgui, A., Witztum, J. L., Khaw, K. T. and Boekholdt, S. M. (2010). Oxidation-Specific Biomarkers, Lipoprotein(a), and Risk of Fatal and Nonfatal Coronary Events. JACC. 56:12, p. 946-955.
  10. Ai, M., Otokozawaw, S., Asztalos, B. F., White, C., Cupples, L. A., Nakajima, K., Lamon-Fava, S., Wilson, P. W., Matsuzawa, Y. and Schaefer, E. J. Adiponectin: an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease in men in the Framingham Offspring Study. Atherosclerosis. Vol. 217, p. 543-548 (2011)
  11. Persson, J., Lindberg, K., Gustafsson, T. P., Eriksson, P., Paulsson-Berne, G. and Lundman, P. Low plasma adiponectin concentration is associated with myocardial infarction in young individuals. Journal of Internal Medicine. Vol. 268, no. 2, p. 194-205 (2010).
  12. Fu, S., Xu, H., Gu,M., Liu, C., Wang, Q., Wan, X., Chen, Y., Chen, Q., Peng, Y., Cai, Z., Zhou, J. and Wang, Z. Adiponectin deficiency contributes to the development and progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia in obesity. Available from: 10.1038/srep43771
  13. Schenk, J. M., Kristal, A.R., Neuhouser, M.L., Tangen, C.M., White, E., Lin, D.W., Thompson, I.M. Serum adiponectin, C-peptide and Leptin and Risk of Symptomatic Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. The Prostate, Vol 69 Issue 12 pp.1-15 (2009) Available from: 10.1002/pros.2097
  14. Izadi, V., Farabad, E., Azadbakht, L. Serum adiponectin level and different kinds of cancer: a review of recent evidence. ISRN Oncology Vol. 2012, (2012) Available from: 10.5402/2012/982769
  15. Messier V, Karelis AD, Prud’homme D, Primeau V, Brochu M, Rabasa-Lhoret R. Identifying metabolically healthy but obese individuals in sedentary postmenopausal women. Obesity, vol. 18, pp. 911-7 (2010).
  16. Dalamaga, M., Diakopoulos, K.N. and Mantzoros, C.S. The Role of Adiponectin in Cancer: A Review of Current Evidence. Endocrine Reviews. 2012 Aug; 33 (4): 547-594 (2012) Available from: 10.1210/er.2011-1015
  17. Kelesidis, I., Kelesidis, T. and Mantzoros, CS. Adiponectin and cancer: a systematic review. British Journal of Cancer (2006) 94, 1221-1225 Available from: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603051
  18. Katira, A. and Tan, P.H. Evolving role of adiponectin in cancer-controversies and update. Cancer Biol Med 2016. Pp.101-119 (2016) Available from: 10.28092/j.issn.2095-3941.2015.0092
  19. Messier V, Karelis AD, Prud’homme D, Primeau V, Brochu M, Rabasa-Lhoret R. Identifying metabolically healthy but obese individuals in sedentary postmenopausal women. Obesity, vol. 18, pp. 911-7 (2010).

How Randox R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare: An introduction to diagnostics for BSW 2017

In celebration of British Science Week 2017, we will be giving you an introduction to diagnostics, and exploring how Randox Scientists are helping to change healthcare.

 

You may or may not already know that Randox are one of the leading diagnostics companies globally.  But what exactly does clinical diagnostics involve?  It is one of the fundamental steps of finding out what is wrong with a person when they are ill.  Read on to find out a bit more about diagnostics, and how the Randox Reagents R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare globally!

What is a diagnostic test?

A diagnostic test is any kind of analysis performed on a patient sample (a sample is typically blood, urine or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)), to aid in the diagnosis or detection of disease.  The information found from a test can be used to:

  • Diagnose disease
  • Assess the extent of damage
  • Monitor the effectiveness of treatment
  • Confirm a person to be free from disease

Blood flows through all parts of the body, coming into direct contact with every organ and tissue.  Therefore a blood sample’s appearance and composition provide important information on what is happening in the various parts of the body!

So what exactly is being tested in the blood?

Examples of substances that may be tested for the blood include proteins, nutrients, waste products, antibodies, hormones, salts, trace elements or vitamins.  These are sometimes referred to as ‘analytes’, ‘markers’ or ‘biomarkers’.

This is where reagents come in…

A reagent is a substance which is mixed with the patient sample to create a chemical reaction to detect the biomarker.  These reactions are analysed by machines known as analysers.

Finally…

Using data gathered from both clinical symptoms and laboratory tests, the doctor will follow a sometimes painstaking process of analysis and elimination to perform a successful diagnosis!

 

Continue reading…


Randox Reagents celebrate World Kidney Day 2017

On 9 March 2017, Randox Reagents are celebrating World Kidney Day!  World Kidney Day is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health. It aims to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

This year, the World Kidney Day promotes education on the harmful consequences of obesity and its association with kidney disease, advocating healthy lifestyle and health policy measures that make preventive behaviours an affordable option.

With this in mind, throughout the week we have been sharing on social media some interesting facts on diagnostic tests which can help aid an early risk assessment of kidney disease in obese patients, allowing preventative action to be taken before any serious damage occurs.  The tests of focus this week included cystatin C, adiponectin and microalbumin

Cystatin C

The creatinine test is routinely run for patients who are suspected for deteriorating kidney function, however this test has limitations.  Cystatin C is an alternative test, and is particularly useful in patients where creatinine measurements are not suitable e.g. individuals who are obese, malnourished, have liver cirrhosis or reduced muscle mass. Importantly, unlike creatinine, cystatin C does not have a ‘blind area’ – up to 50% of kidney function can be lost before significant creatinine elevation occurs. Cystatin C is extremely sensitive to very small changes in kidney function and is therefore capable of detecting early stage kidney dysfunction.  The cystatin C test therefore allows preventative measures to be taken much earlier and before significant kidney function decline.

Adiponectin

There is substantial evidence that excess visceral fat is the main driving force for almost all of the disorders associated with the metabolic syndrome, including CKD.1,2 The adiponectin test from Randox can accurately assess levels of abdominal visceral fat, independent of age, race or fitness level.3,4  Assessing adiponectin, and therefore visceral fat levels, can help assess risk of CKD, as well as a range of other illnesses such as pre-diabetes, CVD and various cancers.

 

Microalbumin

The microalbumin test detects very low levels of a blood protein called albumin, in urine. The detection of albumin in urine can be an indicator of kidney injury and can result in irreversible damage if left untreated. Low albumin concentrations in the urine are the earliest marker of kidney damage and therefore enable preventative measures to be taken.  Microalbumin testing can identify individuals with diabetic nephropathy approximately 5-10 years earlier than proteinuria tests helping reduce the frequency of end stage renal disease.

Both World Kidney Day and Randox are working towards improving healthcare worldwide. With continuous investment in R&D, Randox are helping with the risk assessment and earliest detection of renal function problems. By assessing one’s risk of kidney problems (with the adiponectin test), it can give patients (obese and other) the tools to prevent kidney problems further on down the line.  With early diagnosis (through the cystatin C and microalbumin tests) it will be possible to keep kidney problems from getting worse, therefore lowering the number of those diagnosed with CKD worldwide.

For health professionals

If you are a clinician or lab interested in running renal function assays, Randox offers a large range of high quality routine and niche assays including:  Cystatin C, Creatinine Enzymatic and Jaffe, Microalbumin, Urinary Protein, Urea, Sodium, Potassium, Albumin, Ammonia, β2- Microglobulin, Calcium, Chloride, Glucose, HbA1c, IgG, LDH, Magnesium, Phosphorus (Inorganic), and Uric Acid. These can be run on most automated biochemistry analysers.

For more information, download our Diabetes Brochure or email reagents@randox.com.

References

  1. Hall JE, Henegar JR, Dwyer TM, et al. Is obesity a major cause of chronic renal disease?Adv Ren Replace Ther. 2004;11(1):41–54. [PubMed]
  2. Tchernof A, Després JP. Pathophysiology of human visceral obesity: an update.Physiol Rev. 2013;93(1):359–404. [PubMed]
  3. Matsuzawa, Y. The role of fat topology in the risk of disease.  Int J Obes.  2008;32:s83-s92.
  4. Frederiksen, L., Nielsen, T. L., Wraae, K., Hagen, C., Frystyk, J., Flyvbjerg, A., Brixen, K. and Andersen, M. Subcutaneous Rather than Visceral Adipose Tissue Is Associated with Adiponectin Levels and Insulin Resistance in Young Men.  JCEM, (2009) 94 (10): 4010-4015.

 

Further reading:


What is Measurement of Uncertainty?

Laboratory professionals are well aware that for every test run, there will always be an element of uncertainty regarding the result produced. For this reason, it is key to ensure that any change identified in a patient’s test result is due to a change in the sample concentration, not variation within the test system.

Measurement Uncertainty (MU) relates to the margin of doubt that exists for the result of any measurement, as well as how significant the doubt is. For example, a piece of string may measure 20 cm plus or minus 1 cm, at the 95% confidence level. As a result, this could be written: 20 cm ±1 cm, with a confidence of 95%. Therefore, we are 95% sure that the piece of string is between 19 cm and 21 cm long.

Standards such as ISO 15189 require that the laboratory must determine uncertainty for each test. However, they have not specified how this should be done.

How do we calculate Measurement Uncertainty using QC data?

Employing your QC data to calculate uncertainty makes several assumptions; your test system is under control, the patient samples are treated in the same manner as your controls and gross outliers have been removed. If you choose to use your QC data to calculate this you should ensure that you use a commutable control with a matrix similar to that of a patient sample, with analytes present at clinically relevant levels

To calculate MU, labs must look at the intra-assay precision and inter-assay precision of their test.

Intra-assay precision: Sometimes known as ‘within run’ precision, is where 20 or more replicates of the same sample are run at the same time, under the same conditions (calculated from a single experiment). Intra-assay precision helps to assess systematic uncertainties

Inter-assay precision: Sometimes known as ‘between run’ precision, is where 20 or more replicates are run at different times – e.g. 1 replicate every day for 20 days (can be calculated from routine IQC data). Inter-assay precision can help identify random uncertainties within the test system.

*The Australian Association of Clinical Biochemists (AACB) recommends that at least 6 months’ worth of QC data are used when calculating the inter-assay precision1.

Once the data is collected, you must calculate the standard error of the mean (SEM) of the intra-assay precision (A) and the SD of the inter-assay precision (B) in order to measure the uncertainty (u). Once A and B have been calculated, they need to be squared, added together and the square root of the sum found:

As uncertainty is calculated as SD and 1SD is equal to 68% confidence on a standard Gaussian curve, we can conclude that if we multiply using a coverage factor of 2, we can attain 2SD confidence of 95%. This is known as the Expanded Uncertainty (U):

What is the Advantage of Measurement Uncertainty for a lab?

Labs need to carry out MU as it is a requirement of ISO 15189. It states: “The laboratory shall determine measurement uncertainty for each measurement procedure, in the examination phases used to report measured quantity values on patients’ samples. The laboratory shall define the performance requirements for the measurement uncertainty of each measurement procedure and regularly review estimates of measurement uncertainty”.

MU also helps determine whether the difference between two results is negligible due to uncertainty or significant due to a genuine change in condition of the patient; giving labs a greater confidence in reported results.

How can Randox help?

Our new Acusera 24.7 Live Online software provides automatic calculation of MU, saving valuable time and helping labs meet ISO 15189 requirements with ease.

Contact marketing@randox.com to find out how your lab can benefit from Acusera 24.7 Live Online


Take steps to prevent incorrect patient results by making one simple change

According to the NHS Litigation Authority; in 2015 within the UK alone, £193,680,744.30 was spent on ‘wrong diagnosis’ or ‘failed/delayed diagnosis’ causing huge financial strain and impact on labs.

With approximately 75% of clinical decisions and diagnosis based on laboratory test results. The only way to guarantee a high degree of accuracy is to implement a good Quality Control plan. The importance of this is recognised globally, several bodies exist internationally including ISO (International organisation for standardisation) who have developed a set of guidelines and quality systems to ensure the reliability of laboratory test results.

So what can you do to improve accuracy and reliability?

Choose a third party QC

ISO 151589:2012 Section 5.6.2.2 states that “the use of third party control materials should be considered, either instead of, or in addition to, any control materials supplied by the reagent or instrument manufacturer”.

First Party Controls are those manufactured by the instrument/reagent manufacturer. These controls are optimised specifically for use with the manufacturers test system and therefore will mask a multitude of weaknesses. First Party Controls tend to result in perceived accuracy and a biased assessment of performance.

Third Party Controls on the other hand are designed to be completely independent  and are not optimised for use with a specific test or system. Leading manufacturers of third party controls will assign target values based on data collected from thousands of independent laboratories, ensuring the availability of statistically robust multi-method, multi-analyser data. Therefore laboratories using Third Party Controls can be assured of unbiased error detection across multiple platforms.

Randox Acusera is a world leading manufacturer of true third party controls providing a cost effective, high quality solution for any laboratory-regardless of size or budget.

Look out for QC samples with clinically relevant concentrations

ISO 15189:2012 states that ‘The laboratory should choose concentrations of control materials wherever possible, especially at or near clinical decision values, which ensure the validity of decisions made’.

It is important to assess the full clinical range of an assay i.e. the range between the lowest and highest results which can be reliably reported. In order to make sure a laboratory instrument is performing accurately across the full clinical range and in particular at the medical decision level, QC materials that cover low, normal and elevated concentrations should be used.

Due to the superior manufacturing process used by Randox, QC target values consistently cover the MDL of tests. By ensuring the controls in use cover clinical decision levels laboratories can be confident of the reliability and accuracy of the patient results they release.

Opt for a commutable control material

A good QC material has many essential properties but above all, controls must perform consistently and reflect the performance of patient samples – if a control meets these requirements then we can say it is commutable. Having a commutable control would aid in the prevention of incorrect patient results because they replicate the performance of a patient sample and react to the test system in a similar manner. Use of a commutable control will also reduce costly shifts in QC target values when reagent batch is changed.

At Randox we take quality seriously, that’s why all QC products are manufactured to the highest possible standard, delivering controls of unrivalled quality. Designed to be commutable, the Acusera range will ensure accurate and reliable instrument performance while simultaneously helping laboratories to meet ISO 15189:2012 requirements. A good QC process will include the use of Third Party Controls, Clinically Relevant Concentrations and controls which can be described as commutable. By employing Quality Control’s that encompass these traits, a laboratory professional can be certain that they have taken the necessary steps to decrease incorrect results and therefore potential misdiagnosis.


Extensive study confirms the benefit of testing apolipoproteins E, C-II and C-III to assess cardiac risk

A study published on 21st February 2017 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that measuring apolipoproteins E, C-II and C-III can offer earlier detection of cardiovascular risk in comparison to routine apolipoprotein A-I and B tests.1

The lead author of the study, Professor Manuel Mayr, from King’s College London has said, “We directly compared the association of a broad panel of apolipoproteins to new onset of cardiovascular disease over a 10-year observation period, and found that while apoB was predictive, other apolipoproteins, namely apoE, apo C-II and apo C-III, were even better”. Professor Mayr further implied that the findings provide support that expanding current cardiac screening tests to include apolipoproteins could reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases.2


What are apolipoproteins?

Apolipoproteins are proteins that bind to lipids to form lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are made of proteins and fats, and serve the function of transporting insoluble fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, to be used by different cells. 3

There are six major types of apolipoprotein: A, B, C, D, E and H and the lipoproteins within these categories can vary in size, density and lipid composition. The study found that apolipoproteins E, C-II and C-III are linked to very low-density lipoproteins (vLDL) and have a stronger association with cardiovascular diseases in comparison to apolipoprotein A-I and apolipoprotein B.4

vLDL is strongly associated with the development of atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries, which is a major risk factor of cardiovascular diseases as it can lead to angina, heart attack, stroke or peripheral arterial disease.5


Why measure apo C-II, apo C-III and apo-E?


As highlighted by the authors of the study, cardiovascular risk assessment is commonly associated with only a few lipids within established lipoprotein classes, such as LDL.1 This emphasises the importance of carrying out detailed lipid testing to identify all subgroups to provide a complete cardiovascular risk assessment, as traditional biomarkers for lipids may only provide a limited overview. This can then allow for effective treatment to be provided at an earlier stage, which could subsequently reduce the risk of death by cardiovascular diseases.

Randox offer a range of routine and novel cardiac assays to provide a complete cardiac risk assessment, including: Apolipoprotein C-II / C-III / E / A-I / A-II /  B, Adiponectin, HDL Cholesterol, HDL3 Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, sLDL Cholesterol, Total Cholesterol, TxBCardio™, H-FABP, Homocysteine, hsCRP, Lipoprotein (a), sPLA2-IIA, and Triglycerides. For more information, email: reagents@randox.com.


References

1. Mayr, M. et al., Very-low-density lipoprotein-associated apolipoproteins predict cardiovascular events and are lowered by inhibition of APOC-III., Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Vol. 69, No. 7, 2017.

2. NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London, Discovery could help doctors to spot cardiovascular disease at an earlier stage: Advanced technologies provide researchers with new insights into the warning signs for cardiovascular disease, ScienceDaily (2017) Available from: https://goo.gl/XkC23R [Accessed: 21 February 2017]

3. Kingsbury, K. J., Understanding the Essentials of Blood Lipid Metabolism, Medscape, (2017) Available from: https://goo.gl/AApW6S [Accessed: 23 February 2017]

4. Wallace, A., New technique could aid in earlier diagnosis of heart disease, UPI, (2017) Available from: https://goo.gl/xzxLdf [Accessed: 23 February 2017]

5. British Heart Foundation, Atherosclerosis, (2017) Available from: https://goo.gl/1qHxpk [Accessed: 23 February 2017}

Apolipoproteins may offer earlier detection of CVDs


Aliquoting for longer QC stability

Al-i-quot: An amount that is an exact divisor of the whole quantity of a substance (Collins Dictionary of Medicine, R. Young, 2005).

Why aliquot QC material?

Aliquoting QC material can extend the open vial stability of a lyophilised control, according to manufacturer recommendations. By splitting your QC material into a number of tubes and freezing these you can extend the working stability of the control, ultimately reducing wastage and the amount of money spent on unnecessary additional controls.

Example

A laboratory purchases a lyophilised QC with a volume of 3ml once reconstituted the control is stable for 7 days at 2-8oC. However, the laboratory only uses 1ml of this control per week, meaning that 2ml could potentially be wasted. The manufacturer states that the control can be frozen after reconstitution, extending the working stability from 7 days at 2-8oC to 30 days at -20 oC to -80oC. The following outlines the process for aliquoting reconstituted material and extending the control’s working stability.

Aliquoting reconstituted material
  1. Reconstitute the QC material according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Using a micropipette aliquot the required volume (generally a minimum of 0.5ml should be used) of reconstituted material into a tube.
  3. Repeat step 2 until all the reconstituted material has been aliquoted.
  4. Label each tube with the date the material was reconstituted to avoid the use of expired material.
  5. Store each aliquot at -20oC in a frost free freezer. Be sure to check the kit insert for frozen stability claims.
  6. Remove and thaw each aliquot as and when required making sure to use all material within the frozen stability period.
  7. Once thawed do not refreeze, dispose of any leftover QC material.
Conclusion

Aliquoting reconstituted material is an ideal way of extending the control’s open vial stability. This will ensure that your laboratory minimises the amount of QC material wasted and saves money by eliminating the need to purchase additional controls. Please note that not all lyophilised controls can be frozen like this. To ensure the controls you are selecting are suitable for aliquoting check the product’s kit insert or contact your supplier.

What can Randox Quality Control offer?

We have a number of lyophilised controls which can be prepared and stored in this way across our extensive product portfolio. To find out more visit www.randoxqc.com or contact us via acusera@randox.com to arrange a visit from one of our QC Consultants.


Inflammatory Biomarker Series: Antioxidants

So far in our inflammatory biomarker series, we have considered the clinical significance of measuring rheumatoid factor (RF) and C-reactive protein (CRP) to detect inflammation. Inflammation, either chronic or acute, is the body’s immune response to protect against harmful stimuli such as damaged cells, irritants or pathogens and can be present in a range of diseases and conditions.1 Measuring inflammatory biomarkers can assist clinicians in the identification of a particular disease or can provide a marker of treatment response. In this blog, we consider the role of antioxidants and identify relevant biomarkers which may be linked to inflammatory states.

What is an antioxidant?

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals, which are groups of very reactive molecules that can interrupt important cellular processes. Antioxidants are commonly referenced with regards to food, however antioxidants are also found in the body in the form of enzymes. Their purpose is to protect against the effects of oxidative stress to reduce damage from free radicals.

What is the link between antioxidants and inflammation?

Oxidative stress and the inflammation associated with it are the cause of most human disease. This would suggest that free radicals are implicated in many disease states for example rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, stroke, or cancer. Therefore antioxidants are important to protect against oxidative damage, thus reducing the risk of inflammation. There are a number of antioxidants which play a protective role the body, such as ferritin, superoxide dismutase, transferrin, uric acid and glutathione reductase.

Ferritin

Ferritin is responsible for storing iron and releasing it when required. Ordinarily, ferritin is found inside blood cells with only a small amount circulating in the blood. Ferritin is clinically significant at both high and low levels. Low levels of ferritin can highlight an iron deficiency which causes anaemia. Whereas elevated levels of ferritin can be a result of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, haemochromatosis, liver disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and renal failure.2 As ferritin is an acute phase reactant, levels will be elevated in any inflammatory state within the body.3

Transferrin

Transferrin is a protein that is responsible for binding and transporting iron in the blood. Transferrin acts as a preventative antioxidant as it binds with free iron, removing it from the bloodstream. This is a critical function, as free iron can stimulate the production of harmful free radicals. As transferrin is a negative acute phase protein, lower levels are associated with inflammatory conditions.7

Superoxide Dismutase

Superoxide is a by-product of oxygen metabolism and is one of the most damaging free radicals in the body as it can cause cell damage. Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme which catalyses the breakdown of superoxide into a less damaging oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. Therefore SOD preforms a vital defensive function to reduce oxidative stress.4 Extensive research exists which links oxidative stress to chronic inflammation, which can be a contributing factor to diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and cancer.5 Therefore if levels of superoxide dismutase are low, patients are at risk inflammation, for example, SOD levels are significantly less in rheumatoid arthritis patients.6

Glutathione Reductase

Glutathione reductase is found in red blood cells and plays a key role in maintaining cell function and preventing oxidative stress in human cells. Reduced levels of glutathione reductase can contribute to the prevalence of inflammatory states, suggesting that adequate levels of glutathione reductase are essential for optimal function of the immune system. 7, 8

Uric Acid

Uric acid is a waste product produced when the body breaks down chemical compounds called purines. It is a scavenging antioxidant that acts by inactivating free radicals. Elevated levels of uric acid is commonly associated with gout, a type of arthritis which is caused when crystals of sodium urate form inside joints causing rapid and painful inflammation.9 Other research has indicated that elevated levels of uric acid is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Total Antioxidant Status (TAS)

TAS is a measurement of antioxidant function rather than quantity and considers the cumulative effect of all antioxidants present.  The antioxidant defence system has many components, and a deficiency in any of these components can cause a reduction in the overall antioxidant status of an individual.10 Reduction in total antioxidant status has been implicated in several disease states including cancer, CVD, Arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.


As demonstrated above, different types of antioxidants can help reduce different types of inflammation.  Antioxidant tests can be requested from any doctor, who may also review dietary intake, investigate any symptoms and advise if testing is required. If antioxidant levels are found to be inadequate, improving them can be easily done through dietary changes, and can help reduce a body’s overall inflammation.

 


For health professionals

Randox Laboratories offer a range of diagnostic reagents for antioxidant testing to assist in the diagnosis of inflammatory diseases. Randox offer a complete diagnostic package with applications for a range of biochemistry analysers and a selection of kit sizes, controls and calibrators available. Available tests include: Ferritin, Transferrin, Superoxide Dismutase (Ransod), Glutathione Reductase, Uric Acid, and Total Antioxidant Status (TAS).


References:

  1. Nordqvist, C., Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. Medical News Today, 2015, https://goo.gl/rT4WS9 (accessed 16 January 2017)
  2. Koperdanova, M., Interpreting raised serum ferritin levels, British Medical Journal, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3692 (accessed 2 February 2017)
  3. Nall, R. Ferritin Level Blood Test, Health Line, 2015, https://goo.gl/XGcW9P (accessed 2 February 2017)
  4. Yasui, K. and Baba, A., Therapeutic potential of superoxide dismutase (SOD) for resolution of inflammation. Inflammation Research. Vol.55, No.9, pp.359-363, 2006, 1007/s00011-006-5195-y (accessed 2 February 2017)
  5. Reuter, S., Gupta, S.C., Chaturvedi, M.M., Aggarwal, B.B., Oxidative stress, inflammation and cancer: How are they linked? Free Radic Biol Med. 2010, 1; 49(11):1603-1616 https://goo.gl/Uez3JZ (accessed 2 February 2017)
  6. Bae SC, Kim SJ, Sung MK., Inadequate antioxidant nutrient intake and altered plasma antioxidant status of rheumatoid arthritis patients. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Aug;22(4):311-5
  7. Reynolds, B., Glutathione for inflammatory respsonse, FX Medicine, 2015, Available from: https://goo.gl/2YAv5l (accessed 3 February 2017)
  8. Morris, G., Anderson, G., Dean, O. et al., The glutathione system: a new drug target in neuroimmune disorders. Mol Neurobiol 2014;50(3):1059-1084, Available from: https://goo.gl/PDSgwv (accessed 3 February 2017)
  9. Malaghan Institute, Uric acid – a new look at an old marker of inflammation, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, 2013, Available from: https://goo.gl/P6NfXP
  10. Li, Y., Browne, R.W., Bonner, M.R., Deng, F., Tian, L., Mu, L., Positive Relationship between Total Antioxidant Status and Chemokines Observed in Adults. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014, Available from: https://goo.gl/rmj5MB (accessed 9 February 2017)
Inflammatory Biomarker Series: Antioxidants


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