International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024

For the 9th consecutive year, the field of science has taken this day to celebrate women in the STEM industries and their achievements. The representation of women in STEM is climbing, however it remains low, with estimates claiming women make up only around 26% of the workforce. By celebrating the accomplishments of women in these fields, we hope to encourage more girls to enter the world of science and engineering and challenge the adversity women in STEM all too often face.

In honour of International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024, we’ve looked at some of the most important achievements in the life sciences. Some of the names you’ll be familiar with, others may be new. We’ll travel to Ancient Greece where we will learn about the first female science writer and surgeon, before coming back to today to recognise some of the most groundbreaking innovations in medicine. For far too long the door to a career in the life sciences has been all but closed for women, as you will discover in this article. Yet some of the discoveries and triumphs over adversity we’ll look at are arguably some of the most important achieved by humanity.

Metrodora

In Ancient Greece, it was believed that science was derived directly from the gods. This meant, like other divine disciplines, women were not allowed to practice medicine. However, such a technicality did not stop our first heroine of science. Before her exploits in Greece, Metrodora was likely born and educated in Egypt where men and woman were equals, unlike much of the ancient world. In fact, some believe Metrodora to be an alias of the famous Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt. There is some debate about when Metrodora lived; some say between 200-400 CE, others claim it was more likely to be during the 7th century CE. The name Metrodora is particularly fitting for a woman of her accolades. In Greek, metro can be translated as womb, and dora means gift.

Metrodora was the author of a textbook, making her the first female science writer, spanning 2 volumes and 108 chapters entitled On the Disease and Cures of Women, in which she describes in detail her theories and findings on the topics of female health and the reproductive system. She is thought to have devised treatments for sterility, infections of the female reproductive system, menorrhagia (heavy periods) as well as a method for determining sexual abuse in women. Not to be limited by writing and medicine, Metrodora was also a surgeon, cited as removing dead embryos to save the lives of mothers who miscarried, removing cancers of the breast and uterus and was even among the first to perform cosmetic surgery. Metrodora reconciled this with her Hippocratic duty to help women who had been abused through aesthetic facial and breast reconstruction and the restructuring of the hymen of women who had suffered this fate.

Her pioneering work, however, was quite nearly forgotten forever as she was largely overlooked by her contemporaries. But thankfully, some of her texts are preserved in the Laurentian Library in Florence. Metrodora’s commitment to medicine and female health is summed up perfectly in the opening words of her text, “some of them are intricate to treat and others are fatal, by these notes we will recognise each one”.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)

Elizabeth Blackwell was always destined to shake the status quo. Her father, Samuel, was a Quaker and an antislavery activist. Among her siblings are Henry, an abolitionist and women’s suffrage supporter; her sister, Emily, who followed Elizabeth into medicine; and her sister-in-law, Antoinette Brown Blackwell, who was the first female minister in mainstream Protestantism.

She was inspired into a life of medicine after a close friend had confessed embarrassment of her treatment by male doctors and suggested she’d have been more comfortable if attended to by a female physician. After a series of rejections from numerous medical schools, Elizabeth was finally accepted to Geneva College, New York. However, this acceptance was intended as a practical joke. Not to be discouraged, Elizabeth proved them all wrong, graduating top of her class in 1849 and becoming the first woman to graduate medical school. Dr Blackwell then practiced in London and Paris and was one of the first advocates for the importance of hygiene in medicine, noting that male doctors frequently failed to wash their hands, which led to the spread of epidemics.

In 1851, Elizabeth made the trip back to New York where discrimination was still rife. Once again, her persistence led to the opening of the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857 with Dr Emily Blackwell and Dr Marie Zakrzewska. This institution was a haven for women who needed medical treatment but were often too poor to afford it, and for female physicians struggling to get work in the field. Among her laurels, she played a role in the inception of the National Health Society, established in 1871, which aimed to spread knowledge of public health, and is considered the predecessor to the National Health Service.

 

 

Marie Curie (1867-1934)

Marie Curie is among the most famous of the women in science, so we won’t spend too much time on her life and accomplishments here. However, its impossible to have the discussion without mentioning her invaluable contribution to science. In often poor laboratory conditions with worse equipment, she, and her husband Pierre Curie, made some pivotal discoveries including the isolation of polonium and radium. Marie Curie developed techniques to separate radium from radioactive residues which allowed it to be studied extensively and eventually, its use as a therapeutic agent.

In 1903, Marie and Pierre Curie were awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on spontaneous radiation. Then, in 1911, Marie Curie was given a second Nobel Prize, this one for chemistry, for her work on radioactivity. In recognition of her groundbreaking work leading to novel cancer therapies, the charity Marie Curie was named in her honour, immortalising her and her contributions to the field.

Marie Curie, 1867-1934

Gerty Cori (1896-1957)

Here we find another woman whose name outshines that of her husband, Carl, with whom she collaborated for most of her scientific career. Gerty graduated from medical school in 1920, along with her husband, before they emigrated to America in 1922. Here, they initially delved into the fate of sugar within the animal body, exploring the impacts of insulin and epinephrine. They made groundbreaking discoveries, including the demonstration of glycolysis in tumours in vivo. Their research on carbohydrate metabolism evolved from whole animal studies to experiments on isolated tissues, and eventually to tissue extracts and isolated enzymes, including some in crystalline form. In a pivotal moment in 1936, they isolated glucose-1-phosphate, known as “Cori ester,” and linked its formation to the activity of phosphorylase, which plays a crucial role in the breakdown and synthesis of polysaccharides. This discovery paved the way for the enzymatic synthesis of glycogen and starch in vitro.

Their research extended into the realm of hormone action mechanisms, with several studies focusing on the pituitary gland. They observed significant changes in rats that have had their pituitary gland removed, including a marked decrease in glycogen and a drop in blood sugar levels, accompanied by an increased rate of glucose oxidation. Further investigations into the effects of hormones on hexokinase revealed that certain pituitary extracts could inhibit this enzyme both in vivo and in vitro, while insulin was found to counteract this inhibition.

Beyond their groundbreaking research, the Cori’s served as an endless source of inspiration to their peers in the vibrant hubs of biochemical research they led. Their contributions to The Journal of Biological Chemistry and numerous other scientific journals have left an indelible mark on the field, showcasing their innovative work and collaborative spirit throughout their careers.

 

 

 

 

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/gallery/photo_69_3.html

Gertrude Belle Elion (1918-1999)

Gertrude provides us with another tale of the triumph over adversity. After graduating with a degree in biochemistry in 1937, she failed to obtain a graduate position because she was a woman. After roles in laboratories and teaching, she joined the Burroughs Wellcome Laboratories in 1944 and became the assistant to Dr George Hitchings. Over the following 40 years, the pair were successful in the development of a vast array of new drugs and treatments. Much of their success is attributed to their methods. At the time, normal practice is best described as trial and error. However, Hitchings and Elion studied and intimately understood the difference between normal and pathogenic biochemistry, allowing them to envision and create targeted treatments for, to name just a few, leukaemia, urinary-tract infection, gout, malaria and viral herpes.

Although she never achieved her doctorate, in 1967 Elion was promoted to Head of the Department of Experimental Therapy, where she remained until her retirement in 1983. But Elion didn’t let a silly old thing like retirement get in her way. She remained at the Burroughs Wellcome Laboratories as a Scientist Emeritus and Consultant, including overseeing the development of azidothymidine, the first drug used to treat AIDS. Elion also became a Research Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Duke University, working with medical students in the field of tumour biochemistry and pharmacology, while continuing to write and lecture. Gertrude B. Elion passed away in 1999, bringing an end to a happy and fruitful career as one of the most influential women in science.

 

GSK Heritage Archives

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
GSK Heritage Archives https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)

Rosalind Franklin, another well-known name and one synonymous with the discovery of the DNA double helix, was an exceptional scientist whose meticulous work in X-ray crystallography laid the groundwork for one of the 20th century’s most significant scientific discoveries. Franklin graduated from Cambridge University in 1941, where she initially delved into the study of coal, gases, and carbon compounds, significantly contributing to the understanding of the molecular structures of these materials. Her early research not only showcased her exceptional skills in physical chemistry but also set the stage for her pioneering work in biology.

In 1951, Franklin joined King’s College London, where she was tasked with improving the X-ray crystallography unit. It was here that Franklin embarked on her most famous work: the study of the structure of DNA. Using her expertise in X-ray diffraction techniques, she captured Photograph 51, a critical piece of evidence revealing the helical structure of DNA. This image was crucial in identifying the double helix structure, although her contributions were not fully acknowledged until after her death.

Franklin’s research extended beyond DNA to the study of viruses, making significant strides in understanding the polio virus and the tobacco mosaic virus. Her work in virology, much like her work on DNA, was pioneering, employing her crystallography skills to uncover the detailed structure of viral particles. This work provided valuable insights into how viruses replicate and infect cells, contributing to the broader field of virology and paving the way for future research in virus structure and function.

Despite facing considerable challenges as a woman in a predominantly male scientific community, Franklin’s contributions were profound. Her relentless pursuit of scientific truth, combined with her exceptional experimental skills, left a legacy in the fields of chemistry, virology, and genetics. Beyond her scientific achievements, Franklin is remembered as a trailblazer who paved the way for future generations of women in science, demonstrating the critical role of perseverance and dedication in the pursuit of knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Rosalind Franklin, British Scientist," Encyclopaedia Britannica (article created 20 Jul 1998, accessed 08 Jan 2024); https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rosalind-Franklin : https://cdn.britannica.com/30/99730-050-E68F62FF/Rosalind-Franklin.jpg
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Rosalind Franklin, British Scientist," Encyclopaedia Britannica (article created 20 Jul 1998, accessed 08 Jan 2024); https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rosalind-Franklin : https://cdn.britannica.com/30/99730-050-E68F62FF/Rosalind-Franklin.jpg

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (1947-)

When discussing women who changed science, it’s impossible not to mention Françoise Barré-Sinoussi. She was born in Paris in 1947 and attended university there. Her passion for science saw her skip class to work at the Pasteur Institute, participating in investigations of retroviruses that caused leukaemia in mice. Although, this didn’t seem to affect her exams scores, and she received her PhD in 1974.

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi is hailed as the woman who discovered the viral cause of the AIDS epidemic. In 1982, the Pasteur Institute was approached by a virologist from a hospital in Paris, seeking help in identifying the cause of a worrying new epidemic. In a mere 2 weeks, Barré-Sinoussi, and her colleagues at the Pasteur Institute, isolated and grew a retrovirus from a biopsied lymph node of a patient at risk of AIDS. The virus, later named HIV-1, was found to be the cause of the AIDS epidemic.

Barré-Sinoussi has been contributing to virology research ever since, including areas such as the function of the host’s innate immune defences in managing HIV/AIDS, the elements contributing to the transmission of HIV from mother to child, and traits enabling a select group of HIV-positive individuals to restrain HIV replication without the need for antiretroviral medications. In 1992, Barré-Sinoussi was appointed Head of the Biology of Retrovirus Unit, renamed the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit in 2005.

However, Barré-Sinoussi didn’t stop at the science. She became a prominent activist for public education about AIDS prevention and helped to establish centres for diagnosing and treating AIDS around the world. In 2006, Barré-Sinoussi was elected to the International AIDS Society (IAS) Governing Council and served as president of the IAS from 2012-2016.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7oise_Barr%C3%A9-Sinoussi#/media/File:Fran%C3%A7oise_Barr%C3%A9-Sinoussi-press_conference_Dec_06th,_2008-1.jpg

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7oise_Barr%C3%A9-Sinoussi#/media/File:Fran%C3%A7oise_Barr%C3%A9-Sinoussi-press_conference_Dec_06th,_2008-1.jpg http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html

Jennifer Douda and Emmanuelle Charpentier

Most people have heard of CRISPR-Cas9. But many aren’t aware that we have women to thank for this scientific innovation. In 2012, Jennifer Douda (left) and Emmanuelle Charpentier (right) discovered the ingenious CRISPR-Cas9 technology – a groundbreaking tool in genetic engineering, which holds the promise of revolutionising medicine and biology. By enabling precise editing of the DNA in the cells of living organisms, CRISPR-Cas9 could lead to cures for genetic disorders, enhance crop resistance to pests and diseases, and advance our understanding of complex genetic conditions. It offers the potential to correct genetic defects, combat infectious diseases, and even manipulate traits in plants and animals, paving the way for significant advancements in therapeutic treatments, agricultural productivity, and the study of genetics. This discovery saw both women share the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020.

 

Photograph by Christopher Michel https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/Emmanuelle_Charpentier.jpg https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

We’ve only looked at a subsection of science, but one where the importance of the innovations and discoveries is felt by people every day. The scientists we’ve discussed here are only a small sample of the inspirational women that have graced the STEM field. We hope that by elucidating some of their work, we can inspire more girls and women to pursue a career in STEM. Careers in this field are challenging and rewarding, perfect for those with a curious mind and those in whom discovery sparks delight.


Free health checks in Sandwell

 

Sandwell residents will be able to benefit from diagnostic NHS Health Checks, testing for diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and hyper tension.

After the launch of Sandwell Council’s partnership with Randox Health in 2023,which saw thousands of eligible Sandwell residents offered diagnostic NHS Health Checks, the partnership has continued – giving residents a health boost for 2024!

Free tests will be offered to Sandwell residents aged between 40 and 70 who have not previously suffered coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes, or kidney disease. Over the next few weeks those eligible will receive letter inviting them to the 20-minute NHS Health Check, under joint branding from Randox, Healthy Sandwell and the NHS.

Tests and clinics will be available for Sandwell residents in both Sandwell and, if convenient, in Birmingham, with additional free body composition analysis for health checks completed at the Birmingham clinic. Results will be made available for GPs for review and inclusion on patient medical records.

Not only does the testing programme enable prevention and mitigation through he early identification of serious illness, but it also allows lifestyle modification on issues including smoking, alcohol, and weight management. This partnership also includes a limited number of 3-month free gym memberships.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care & Health, said: “The good health of our residents has always been a priority for the Council. This initiative will have a significant and beneficial impact on the health and longevity of thousands of people living in the area. It will enable those at high risk to take medical and lifestyle steps to prevent illnesses which could, if not detected early, shorten, or change lives.”

David Ferguson, Chief Operating Officer for Randox Health said, “Randox is delighted to be part of this joint initiative with Sandwell Council’s Public Health Team. It has long been our belief that early diagnostic health testing delivers better outcomes for individuals. It relieves the pressure on our NHS by enabling lifestyle change and medical intervention. This in turn, prevents or mitigates illnesses which could otherwise require intense long-term treatment.”


UKAS ISO15189:2022 Transition Update

Throughout 2023, UKAS have been hard at work training Assessment Managers and Technical Assessors on the new requirements of the updated ISO15189 guidelines, sharing information about the updated standard and developing the UKAS 15189:2022 Transition Hub providing a one-stop-shop for information on the ISO15189:2022 update.

Recently, UKAS have published a Transition update to remind laboratories of where they stand in seeking their updated accreditation.  In this update, UKAS state “As per the UKAS transition plan, all assessments due to take place from the 1st January 2024 will be to ISO15189:2022.”

A gap analysis will be required one month prior to transition assessments, detailing the gaps and the actions which have been taken to remedy these gaps. This should include evidence, such as updated documents and records, embedded in the gap analysis document, showing what action has been taken to bring a laboratory’s practices in line with the updated standard.

An important note included in this transition update is , “UKAS cannot grant accreditation on intent; organisations shall make the necessary changes and have implemented these prior to the transition assessment.” So if your accreditation assessment is due soon, you might want to make use of our ISO15189:2022 Accreditation Guide to assist you in your gap analysis to ensure you don’t miss out.

This is crucial for laboratories because failure to align with the 2022 version of the standard before the deadline of 6th December 2025 will result in a suspension of ISO15189 accreditation for up to 6 months.

Some of the key accreditation updates include:

You can find more information to assist in your gap analysis and achieving ISO15189:2022 accreditation our ISO15189:2022 Accreditation Guide – a free PDF is available below.

Randox Quality Control’s Acusera range provides true third part quality controls designed to help you achieve all aspects of ISO15189:2022 accreditation including commutable matrices containing consistent, clinically relevant concentrations with unrivalled consolidation of analytes. To learn more about our range of quality control products, visit our website or, get in touch today at marketing@randox.com


Advanced Statistics with Acusera 24.7

The only thing that sounds more terrifying than statistics, is advanced statistics. For many of us, the dread associated with having to carry out complex calculations can be too much to bear.  For others, statistics are not just a set of numbers; they’re a captivating puzzle waiting to be solved. The allure of dissecting intricate patterns, unravelling hidden relationships, and drawing meaningful conclusions makes these statistical enthusiasts embrace the challenges of advanced statistics with excitement rather than apprehension.

No matter which camp you’re in, we bet you’re going to love the advanced statistics features included in Acusera 24.7. From Uncertainty of Measurement to Sigma Metrics, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore these features and how we can make your statistical analysis easier than ever before.

Measurement Uncertainty

If you’re involved in laboratory quality control, you’ll have heard all about measurement uncertainty (MU). To some it’s intuitive. To some it’s a labyrinth. MU is defined as a parameter associated with the result of a measurement that characterises the dispersion of values that could reasonably be attributed to the measured quantity. For example, if we say the pencil below measures 16cm ± 1cm, at the 95% confidence level we are really saying that we are 95% sure that the pencil measures between 15cm and 17cm.

In other words, the calculation of MU gives medical laboratories an estimate of the overall variability in the values they report. This is important for 3 reasons:

  1. It helps ensure the measured results are useful and not wildly inaccurate.
  2. It permits meaningful comparison of medical decision limits and previous results of the same kind in the same individual.
  3. It’s a regulatory requirement – ISO 15189:2022

All measurements involve some degree of inherent variability due to factors such as instrument limitations, environmental conditions, and biological variation. MU aims to quantify the doubt or range of possible values around the measurement result, helping to provide an understanding of the reliability and limitations of measurements. To complete this task comprehensively, the entire measurement process must be examined and should consider components such as systematic errors, random errors and uncertainties related to calibration, equipment, and the environment.

ISO 15189:2022 states:

So, if you are seeking ISO15189 accreditation, there’s no avoiding MU and advanced statistics. Lucky for you, Acusera 24.7 can calculate MU and provide you with a report which you can export to Excel or PDF for auditing or archiving.

By liberating you from the need to manually calculate MU for all your assays and control levels, Acusera 24.7 streamlines the statistical analysis process, freeing you up to complete your other essential duties. It also helps reduce the chance of errors in the calculation; after all, no matter how talented you are at mathematics, we all make mistakes. The real-time nature of this kind of monitoring means you don’t have to recalculate every time you get more data – simply press the refresh button and you’ll automatically get a new MU report.

By incorporating automated tools to calculate MU, you gain the ability to proactively pinpoint and rectify potential error sources, mitigating the risk of inaccurate measurements and the repercussions that may follow.

For more information on MU and how it’s calculated, see our education guide – How to Measure Uncertainty.

Sigma Metrics

The Sigma model was originally developed for the manufacturing industry as a method of process improvement focusing on minimising errors in process outputs. It has since been adopted by the medical laboratory to improve result reporting.

This model calculates the number of standard deviations or ‘Sigmas’ that fit within the quality specifications of the process – as the sources of error or variation are removed, the standard deviation becomes smaller, and the sigma score increases – 6 being the target. A 6 Sigma process can be expected to produce 3.4 defects, or false results, per million.

sigma6

Using your predetermined performance limits, including biological variation (standard), RiliBÄK and CLIA, as the total allowable error (TEa), Acusera 24.7 can calculate a Sigma Score for a particular assay, method, or instrument, saving you the hassle of calculating this manually – freeing you up to investigate the sources of error and make improvements to your process.

This is displayed in our Statistical Metrics report along with Count, Bias%, and CV for your chosen range, your cumulative results and those from other Acusera 24.7 users from around the world to provide straightforward and comprehensive statistical analysis and peer group comparison.

Once you’ve found out your Sigma Score for an assay, you can use this to determine your QC frequency and the multi-rules you should apply to your QC. The higher your Sigma Score, the less multi-rules you need to apply to your analysis and the less often you need to run QC for that assay. The table below shows the multi-rules and QC frequencies associated with each Sigma Score.

Acusera 24.7 includes multi-rule capabilities that can be utilised to monitor your QC data and index it as accepted, rejected, or trigger an alert, depending on the pre-defined multi-rules against which you want to check your data. These features enable the identification of nonconformities and reduce the need for laborious manual statistical analysis while enhancing the accuracy and precision of the laboratory. To read more about the multi-rule features of Acusera 24.7, take a look at our educational guide – Understanding QC Multi-rules.

Now that we’ve found which of our assays are underperforming, we can begin to take corrective action. The Sigma Score is affected by bias and imprecision of laboratory results, therefore improving these values will increase the Sigma Score. Some of the steps a laboratory can take are:

  • Improved staff training
  • Instrument maintenance
  • Frequent calibration
  • Strict adherence to SOPs when preparing controls and calibrators.

If you are still in the dark ages, carrying out your statistical calculations and analysis manually, reach out to us today to learn more about the time and expense we can help you save. Every day, more people are discovering the power of Acusera 24.7 and the benefits it has in their laboratory.

The updates to ISO151589:2022 are based around increasing patient safety and reducing erroneous results, making advanced statistics essential. Assessors get excited when they see Acusera 24.7 in the lab because they know quitting time is that bit closer. Allow us to help you achieve your accreditation and provide the best possible patient care. With complete onboarding assistance and first-class customer support, you’ll always be ready to get to the bottom of any problems you might face. Get in touch today at marketing@randox.com


World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day!

14th November

Diabetes is a life-long condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It causes blood sugar levels to become abnormally high, which poses a significant danger to your body. Although it’s incurable, it can be monitored and controlled.

Randox Laboratories provide a range of diabetes related diagnostic reagents, that cover many areas from disease recognition and diagnosis to monitoring symptoms and complications associated with the condition.

 

The three main types of Diabetes are Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes starts in early childhood, and is caused by a deficiency in the production of insulin by the pancreas. It can be both inherited and acquired. Daily monitoring is required, along with the administration of insulin. Type 1 is when your body can’t naturally produce the hormone insulin, vital for the transportation of glucose in the blood to the cells to energize and fuel our bodies. Your body attacks cells within the pancreas, meaning the body is unable to produce insulin. Without insulin there is no glucose getting into bodily cells, so it builds up in your blood stream causing high blood sugar levels.

 

Type 2 manifests later in life, it’s when the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. Can be referred to as insulin resistance. It is more common than Type 1 and usually can be the cause of lack of exercise and excess body fat. However, regardless of weight it can occur in any individual. Type 2 diabetes can be regulated by your diet. Without treatment or action, diabetes can cause many serious problems like damaging the eyes, feet and heart. Some symptoms may include urinating more than usual, feeling lethargic, weight loss, blurred vision and wounds or cuts taking longer to heal.

 

Gestational diabetes is the development of the condition during pregnancy. It is the result of the body being unable to produce enough insulin to meet the extra needs of the baby and mother. It can cause serious problems if not controlled, to reduce the risks Gestational diabetes is consistently monitored.

Randox Laboratories provide an extensive range of reagents for the accurate testing of diabetes. One of the reagents is Fructosamine in which ‘testing has been identified as being the best for patient care’.

Fructosamine & HbA1c 

Fructosamine is a mid-term indicator of diabetic control, as it can provide information on a person’s average blood glucose levels over the previous 14-21 days. Because of it’s shorter time span, it’s often used to evaluate the effectiveness of medication changes and to monitor the treatment of gestational diabetes.

Fructosamine is also particularly useful in situations where HbA1c cannot be reliably measured e.g. haemolytic anaemia, thalassemia or with genetic hemoglobin variants.

HbA1c for example – gives us an indication of what an individual’s average blood sugar level has been over recent weeks/months. This is significant for those who suffer from diabetes because the higher the levels of HbA1c, the higher the chance of an individual suffering from further diabetes related issues.

The latex enhanced immunoturbidimetric method which the RX series utilises makes, the test simple and quick to perform. The removal of the pre-dilution step removes the risk of human error compromising your results. Certified by the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program (NGSP), the RX daytona+, RX imola & RX modena are all capable of utilising direct on-board HbA1c which can revolutionise your diabetes testing capabilities.

D-3-Hydroxybutyrate (Ranbut)

D-3-Hydroxybutyrate (Ranbut) is another reagent Randox provides.  D-3-Hydroxybutyrate is the most abundant of the three main ketones produced in the body, accounting for 75% of total ketones in the body. Due to the higher levels of D-3-Hydroxybutyrate, it is the more sensitive marker for the diagnosis of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic process, occurring when the body switches from glucose to predominantly fat metabolism for energy production, this happens when carbohydrate availability reaches low levels. The metabolism of fatty acids in the liver, results in the production of chemical by-products known as ketone bodies or ketones. Ketosis occurs when the body produces more ketones than the liver can process.

High levels of ketones present in the body can be dangerous  leading to Diabetic Ketoacidosis, which being left untreated can cause damage to vital organs and in some instances may lead to a coma or death.

Benefits of Ranbut include;

• Superior methodology when compared to other commercially available ketone detection tests. For example, the nitroprusside method used in semi-quantitative dipstick tests only detects acetone and acetoacetate. D-3 hydroxybutyrate is the most abundant ketone produced during ketosis the measurement of this analyte is more sensitive and specific.
• Exceptional correlation coefficient of r=0.9954 when compared against other commercially available methods.
• Excellent precision of <3.5% CV.
• Calibrator and controls available offering a complete testing package.
• Applications available detailing instrument-specific settings for the convenient use of the Randox D-3- Hydroxybutyrate (Ranbut) assay on a wide range of clinical chemistry analysers.
• New liquid stable Ranbut assays available.

Non-Esterified Fatty Acids (NEFA)

Non-Esterified Fatty Acids is another reagent Randox provides, which are important metabolites stored in adipose tissue. The dominant source of NEFA is abdominal subcutaneous fat. Cross-sectional studies have consistently documented that circulating NEFA levels are proportional to body fat storage and demonstrated positive correlations between fasting NEFA levels and obesity, insulin resistance and glucose tolerance. It too is an accurate marker regarding diabetes.

Non-Esterified Fatty Acids concentrations are strongly associated with insulin resistance. In the fasting state, the resistance of adipose tissue to the antilipolytic effect of insulin causes the extensive release of NEFA into circulation. Consequently, elevated NEFA levels exacerbate insulin resistance through diminishing insulin- stimulated glucose intake into the skeletal muscle, directly affecting insulin signalling.

Benefits of NEFA include;
• Exceptional correlation coefficient of r=0.98 when compared against other commercially available methods.
• Excellent precision of <5% CV.
• Extensive measuring range of 0.072- 2.24mmol/l for the comfortable detection of clinically important results.
• Calibrator and controls available offering a complete testing package.
• Applications available detailing instrument-specific settings for the convenient use of the Randox NEFA assay on a wide range of clinical chemistry analysers.

Randox’s Reagents available for diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes.

Fructosamine

Glucose

HbA1c

Albumin

Creatinine

Cystatin C

D-3-Hydroxybutyrate

Microalbumin

Non-Esterified Fatty Acids

 

‘The Randox enzymatic method offers, improved specificity and reliability compared to the conventional NBT-based methods, as the enzymatic method does not suffer from non-specific interferences, unlike the existing methods which can also be time-consuming and difficult to automate. The Randox dedicated Fructosamine calibrator and controls are assigned relative to human serum glycated with 14-C glucose, directly reflecting the nature of the patient sample. Randox provides testing and reagents that are reliable and accurate.’

References

Anon (2023) Types of diabetes, Diabetes UK. Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/types-of-diabetes (Accessed: 19 September 2023).

NHS (2023) Symptoms of Diabetes, NHS Choices. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms/ (Accessed: 19 September 2023).

Randox (2023) Diabetes Reagents: Biochemistry: Reagents, Randox Laboratories. Available at: https://www.randox.com/diabetes-reagents/ (Accessed: 19 September 2023).

Randox (2023b) Fructosamine: Reagents: Biochemistry, Randox Laboratories. Available at: https://www.randox.com/fructosamine/ (Accessed: 20 September 2023).


David Davis calls for blanket testing to save NHS £3bn a year

 

Ministers are being urged to introduce mass medical testing to cut NHS costs by billions and save thousands of lives.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis calls for mass medical testing across the whole UK population by companies which he believes will alert the NHS to potential health risks for individuals and allow for lifestyle changes and treatment before problems become serious.

Mr. Davis said, “I bring it back to the reality of individuals. If we delay diagnosis, we delay treatment – we sentence people to death. It’s as harsh as that. So one of the things I would like to see us do is dramatically increase the amount of diagnostic capacity we have.”

“My view is that actually we should break clear of the ideology. We should look to increase dramatically the amount of scans and diagnostic procedures we can create. And when I say dramatically, I mean a multiple of what we currently do and we should use the private sector to do it.

“I know it causes a bridling and a backing off but I the only way we can do it fast enough is to do that. And that will save I think about £3 billion, get the waiting lists down by millions of people but most importantly of all will save thousands of lives.”

Mr. Davis was reacting to a paper drawn up by Northern Ireland medical testing company Randox, one of the private health providers who developed Covid testing during lockdown. The paper has been drawn up by scientists at Randox, scaling up its testing capacity from 300 tests a day to 120,000 a day in less than 12 months. Overall, the firm conducted nearly 27 million tests during the pandemic.

Dr. Peter Fitzgerald, the founder of Randox, said that with the NHS waiting lists not far short of eight million people and with budgets under intense pressure, the time had come for a new partnership between the public and private sectors.

Ministers should start by convening a summit of private diagnostic firms and their NHS counterparts and investigate the potential of the enormous advances in testing technologies developed in recent years. By harnessing the startling progress made by scientists they could revolutionize standards of health care while slashing waiting lists and achieving far greater value for money.

Dr. Fitzgerald added, “Policy-makers need to appreciate the vast potential of the latest diagnostic testing technologies. They can deliver a step-change in the quality of people’s lives. By outsourcing much testing to the private sector – under a rigorous independent tendering process – the NHS can be freed up to  get on with its prime job of treating the sick.”

Under the Randox plan, the public would be invited to visit a private diagnostic clinic every year for a check-up. Results would be monitored in house by scientists who would advise people on next steps. Results would be routinely passed onto their GPs, though in many cases no further action would be needed.

GPs would ultimately decide on medical interventions and possible referral to NHS hospital services. A priority group for such tests would be the 7.7 million on NHS waiting lists. They would be assessed to see if their condition had worsened and whether urgent action was required.

High-tech comprehensive testing of the population would also reduce if not eliminate the many false positives arising from much of the diagnostic services available today.

Taken from Daily Express article by David Maddox, Political Editor.

Randox welcomed the Queen’s University staff Leadership Team to their Antrim based Randox Science Park in Antrim.

Randox were delighted to welcome the Queen’s University Belfast Leadership Team to their Antrim based headquarters, Randox Science Park on Tuesday, October 4th.

President and Vice Chancellor, Sir Ian Greer of Queen’s University was joined by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Elborn, Head of Careers, Employability and Skills Mr Trevor Johnston, Head of Business Alliance Mr Dermot Leonard, Business Engagement Manager Mrs Joanne Mallon, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Institute Dr. David Quinn, Lead of Queen’s sustainable energy research Professor David Rooney, Dean of Research in Medicine, Health and Life Sciences Professor David Rooney, Dean of Research in Medicine, Health and, Life Sciences Professor Chris Scott, and Dean of Impact and Innovation in Medicine, Health, and Life Sciences.

The team received a presentation on Randox’s capabilities which stimulated multiple discussions in relation to research, improvements in healthcare provision, skills and the exciting future of Life and Health Sciences in Northern Ireland.

The purpose-built facilities at the site, covering research and development, engineering, manufacturing and accredited laboratories provides an unparalleled depth of diagnostic capability within a single site.

Randox employ over 2,200 staff, including 800 research scientists and engineers – all focused on improving life science diagnostic capabilities globally.

More than 5% of the world’s population (over 400 million people) receive medical diagnosis using Randox products each year. Randox have major facilities in the UK, Ireland, India, and the United States, supported by global distribution and supply networks.

 


Secretary of State visit to Randox Science Park

The Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland paid a visit to Randox Science Park on Thursday, October 19th, to discuss Randox capabilities and undertake a tour of the facilities at the Antrim site.

As leading diagnostic company from the UK & Ireland, Randox have spent over forty years improving healthcare,  with a focus on the provision of timely and accurate  testing both to improve clinical diagnosis and promote preventative healthcare.

The purpose-built facilities at the site, covering research and development, engineering, manufacturing and accredited laboratories provides an unparalleled depth of diagnostic capability with a single site.

More than 5% of the world’s population (over 400 million people) receive medical diagnosis using Randox products each year.

Randox’s proprietary Biochip Technology is the result of a £350 million investment, allowing many tests to be run simultaneously, greatly improving the diagnostic power available to clinicians. This innovative technology allowed the provision of advanced health  profiling to support both early diagnosis and the transition to preventative healthcare.

Randox Science Park is a central hub of Randox’s life science manufacturing, engineering and research and development. Randox employ over 2,200 staff, including 800 research scientists and

engineers – all focused on improving life science diagnostic capabilities globally.

Randox Science Park is one of four key manufacturing and development sites, with others located in Dungloe, County Donegal; Bangalore, India; and the Greater Washington DC area, USA. Across the UK & Ireland there is also a growing network of Randox Health Clinics.

 

 


Look after your gut and it will look after you – Goodwood Health Summit 2023

At long last the public is cottoning on to the simple but important notion of preventative health – the idea that you don’t go to the doctor after falling ill – you go before so that potential future illnesses can be identified in advance and action taken immediately.

Randox, a leader in the field of diagnostic medicine, is in the forefront of this profound change in health care – one that opens up the possibility of delivering enormous benefits to individuals and society at large.

For these reasons, we were delighted to lend our support to the recent launch of the Goodwood Gut Summit hosted by the Goodwood Estate. The summit theme was on gut microbiomes, which play a key role in promoting the smooth daily operations of our body. Broadcast online, the summit aimed to respond to the urgent need for widespread education and communication about rapid progress in dietary health.

The summit came after a stark warning contained in two landmark studies into the effects of ultra-processed foods on our diet and its effect on our microbiomes.

This newly published research concluded that eating ultra-processed foods – such as ready meals, fizzy juice, cereals, and fast food – drastically increases our risk of serious health issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. It can also raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes. BBC journalist Justin Webb led the conversation with a world-class line-up of speakers, including, Dr Chris van Tulleken, Jessie Inchauspé, Dr James Kinross, Professor Pekka Puska and Professor Edward Bullmore.

Topics covered included inflammation, mental health and the microbiome , insulin, obesity, ultra-processed foods , the growing cost of poor nutrition, and the need to drive fundamental shifts in our food systems in order to move to a healthier future for all.

There was a discussion on using the many curbs on the promotion and sale of tobacco as a model for the food industry. Tighter regulation of food manufacturers and their marketing strategies could be the way forward here. As authorities in their respective fields, the speakers shared their knowledge and vision on these important topics, as well as considered new solutions to personal and societal health challenges, helping the formulation of some key achievable goals.

The partnership with the summit is underpinned by two Randox Laboratory divisions.

Randox Food Diagnostics is dedicated to improving the global food security chain. It provides the global food market with screening solutions for antimicrobials, toxins, growth-promoting hormones and veterinary drugs in animals and animal produce, as well as testing meat, milk, honey, grapes, seafood and feed products.

Food product testing is essential to ensure that what we consume is safe from physical, chemical, and biological hazards. It tells people precisely what they are eating and so helps them make informed choices and makes sure that goods on the supermarket shelves comply with safety standards.

Randox Health, the consumer-facing side of Randox Laboratories, is primarily focused on accessible, preventative health testing and offers full body health checks that identify early signs of disease before symptoms occur.

 

What is gut microbiome?

Picture a bustling city on a weekday morning, the pavements flooded with people rushing to get to work or to appointments. Now imagine this at a microscopic level and you have an idea of what the microbiome looks like inside our bodies, consisting of trillions of microorganisms (also called microbiota or microbes) of thousands of different species.

These include not only bacteria but fungi, parasites, and viruses. In a healthy person, these “bugs” coexist peacefully, with the largest numbers found in the small and large intestines but also throughout the body. The microbiome is even labeled a supporting organ because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of the human body.

A person is first exposed to microorganisms as an infant, during delivery in the birth canal and through the mother’s breast milk. Later on, environmental exposures and diet can change our microbiomes to be either beneficial to health or to place one at greater risk for disease. Read more about it here(https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/)

More info on Randox Food Diagnostics: Randox food diagnostics-randoxfood.com

To book a health test please follow the link below; Randox Health-randoxhealth.com

Book your stay at the Goodwood Gut Health programme, that includes a Randox panel of testing; www.goodwood.com/visit-eat-stay/health-wellbeing/wellness-retreats/gut-health-programme/


Industry And Academic Partnership in Developing Type 1 Diabetes Genetic Risk Biochip

The development of a diagnostic biochip to assess the genetic risk of individuals developing type 1 Diabetes, is the result of a successful partnership between leading diagnostics company, Randox and the University of Exeter.

The following case study has been prepared on the dynamic biochip’s development. With significant potential for further advancements in research and diagnostics, this active collaboration highlights how industry and academia can work together to accelerate healthcare innovation.

As a professor in Diabetes at the University of Exeter Medical School, Dr. Richard Oram specializes in the study of the biology of beta cell loss in type 1 diabetes and the clinical impact of persistent beta cell function. Working alongside Professor Michael Wheedon and Professor Andrew Hattersley, in 2014, Dr. Oram developed a method of assessing genetic risk as a single number – a genetic risk score (GRS) – that can be used to help classify what type of diabetes people have and predict future typ1 1 diabetes but to deliver a clinical test, the research would need a collaborative partnership with a global innovator in healthcare diagnostics.

Unlocking the potential of a type 1 diabetes GRS

Dr. Oram’s early research on type 1 Diabetes included studying people with varying levels of  beta cell destruction and the study of extreme early-onset type 1 diabetes diagnosed in infants under a year old. One key question was whether aggregating data for someone’s genetic risk for type 1 diabetes could be turned into a single number – a genetic risk score  and could be used to help understand the disease process or even correctly identify the type of diabetes someone had.

In parallel, it’s become increasingly apparent that there is a significant issue of incorrect classification of type 1 diabetes, affecting treatment and complications risk. Dr. Oram asked that if a ‘person’ sits in the overlap of whether they might have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, can their genes be used to help understand the disease process or even correctly identify the type of diabetes someone had.

Revolutionizing diagnosis with the type 1 diabetes GRS diagnostic tool

With the common confusion and misdiagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s estimated that up to half of people with diabetes receive the wrong treatment. This information was a good indicator that a diagnostic test would be a simple method of correct diagnosis. But alongside accurate type 1 and type 2 diabetes diagnosis, the GRS research and classification model can also help:

● Identification diagnostics to understand which people with diabetes may have a genetic mutation causing it and need genome sequencing to make the diagnosis

● Predictive diagnostics to learn whether someone will develop diabetes in the future

All research showed that it was relatively easy to generate a GRS for Richard and the team’s studies and that it was clinically valuable. The next step was to translate the research into a user-friendly and affordable diagnostic test that can be widely adopted worldwide – and find a healthcare diagnostics company that could make it a reality.

Industry and academia partnerships to accelerate innovation

Together, both Randox and the University of Exeter highlight the continued importance of improving disease prediction and prevention, the collaboration showcases the power of interdisciplinary partnerships between industry and academia in advancing healthcare.

Over a four-year period, Randox developed a biochip that uses genetic markers and a robust algorithm to assess an individual’s genetic risk for type 1 diabetes accurately. Randox’s expertise in the development, manufacture, and regulatory approval of the biochip made it a reality all driven by discovery research and a clinical understanding from Dr. Oram.

With neither team being able to achieve the same results without the other, recognizing the strengths both sides can offer to accelerate healthcare innovation is the key to a successful industry/academia partnership.
As a first-generation type 1 diabetes biochip, Dr. Oram continues collaborative research with Randox to advance its potential. And to further the partnership, Randox has committed a research grant of over £2m to study genetic risk scores for other autoimmune diseases, including coeliac disease and multiple sclerosis.

For more information please visit: www.medicine.exeter.ac.uk/clinical-biomedical/business-engagement-innovation