Immunoturbidimetry vs nephelometry for protein detection

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Immunoturbidimetry vs nephelometry for protein detection

Immunoturbidimetry methods have become the main technique for performing protein tests. The transition from nephelometry has been cautious but is increasing as laboratories enjoy the comparability and flexibility of immunoturbidimetry.

Immunoturbidimetry and nephelometry both measure the turbidity of a sample to determine the level of an analyte. Upon addition of the assay reagent, antibodies and antigen cluster to form an immune complex that precipitates, increasing the turbidity of the sample. When light is passed through the reaction solution, some light is scattered by the sample, some light is absorbed by the sample and the rest passes through the sample.

Immunoturbidimetry measures the absorbance of the light by the sample, nephelometry measures the light scattered at a fixed angle. The level of analyte is determined by comparison with a calibrator of known concentration.

Immunoturbidimetry is ideal for the detection of proteins, where the analyte concentration is inversely proportional to the transmitted light signal. Historically nephelometry has been more sensitive than conventional immunoturbidimetry. In latex-enhanced immunoturbidimetry, inert microscopic particles enlarge the immune complexes, amplifying the reaction and significantly increasing the sensitivity of the reaction.

Nephelometers are dedicated analysers only capable of performing this type of assay. In addition, they are:

  • slow
  • have high consumable costs
  • require highly trained personnel

Immunoturbidimetric tests are carried out on routine biochemistry analysers that are:

  • versatile
  • fast
  • cost-effective
  • offer longer reagent stability
  • sensitive

The main advantage of nephelometry was its sensitivity; however latex-enhanced immunoturbidimetry has closed this gap.   Immunoturbidimetric tests are an increasingly accepted alternative to nephelometry for specific protein assays, and studies have shown a close correlation between Randox immunoturbidimetric tests and nephelometry.

If you are interested in running your protein assays on a routine biochemistry analyser, Randox offers a large range of high quality routine and niche protein assays that can be run on most automated analysers, including:  Alpha-I acid glycoprotein; alpha-I antitrypsin; anti-streptolysin O; apolipoprotein A-I; apolipoprotein A-II; apolipoprotein B; apolipoprotein C-II; apolipoprotein C-III; apolipoprotein E; ceruloplasmin; complement C3; complement C4; CRP; cystatin C; ferritin; haptoglobin; HbA1c; IgA; IgE; IgG; IgM; lipoprotein (a); microalbumin; myoglobin; rheumatoid factor; transferrin and transthyretin (prealbumin).  For more information, download our Reagents Brochure or email: reagents@randox.com.


Women should have fertility MoT at 25 as a “wake up call” so they don’t leave it too late

Young women should be offered ‘fertility MoTs’ at 25 so that they don’t leave it too late to start a family, doctors have said.

The British Fertility Society has warned that many young women are unaware of how their ability to conceive declines with age and has called for fertility checks to be introduced by the NHS to act as a “wake up call”.

The warning is intended to highlight the risks associated with waiting too long to start a family, such as the heartache of later infertility and complications in pregnancy and child birth.

Professor Adam Balen, Chairman of the British Fertility Society is quoted in the national press as wanting to “put the family back into family planning”, and said that many women were far too optimistic about their biological clock, and that women do not have the control over their fertility that easy access to contraception has led them to believe.

Checks could indicate whether you are more likely to have problems, or start having problems, and could indicate key measures such as how many eggs a woman has left. Consultations could include diet and lifestyle advice such as stopping smoking, cutting back on alcohol and checks on obesity and anorexia, which can contribute to infertility.

The number of women in Northern Ireland aged 35-39 having babies has increased in line with current trends across the rest of the UK, with around a fifth of all babies in the UK now born to mothers over 35 as many women put off starting a family due to a pressure to develop careers. Professor Balen suggests that ideally young couples should be trying to start a family by the time they are in their late 20s, or early 30s. He said that young people need to be able to have the option of both developing careers and starting families, “not one to the exclusion of another”.

With the NHS focused on education to try to prevent pregnancy, rather than encourage it, and a cut back on providing fertility treatments for couples struggling to conceive, it has become more and more common for people to self-fund fertility tests and treatments.

Jenny Dobbs, a leading fertility expert at Randox Health Clinics suggests that a fertility test early and regularly, would help couples who are trying for a family:

“Around one in six couples in Northern Ireland have difficulty conceiving, and this is not always down to a problem with the sperm, eggs and reproductive organs. A fertility health check can be life changing for a couple who are trying for a baby, or for women who want to understand more about their current fertility levels.

Randox Health takes a unique approach to fertility through comprehensive personalised blood testing for both men and women. Highly advanced assessments, or MoTs, are designed to identify the earliest signs of illness and work with clients to prevent disease in your future, which is very important for preserving your fertility and making healthy babies.”


BBC Investigation: ‘Taking legal highs is like playing russian roulette with your life’

A ground-breaking undercover investigation has exposed the deadly world of legal highs, the latest drug craze sweeping the UK and causing devastation to families and communities across the country.

An investigative team from the BBC followed the journey of these dangerous and highly addictive substances from source to sale and used secret filming to reveal that legal substances bought in the UK’s high streets pose a hazardous and lethal risk.

During the hour-long programme this evening on BBC Scotland, journalists shine a spotlight on the growing legal high epidemic, where synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine.

The team enlisted the help of Randox Testing Services, to further investigate the make-up of these drugs, which contain a cocktail of chemical ingredients that suppliers continually tweak to evade the law.

But the legality of these ‘highs’ in no way makes the drugs any safer. The disturbing test results show that legal highs bought in the UK contain a poisonous mixture of synthetic cannabinoids which have as strong an effect as illegal drugs, such as LSD or Amphetamines, and in some cases even stronger.

Sadly, the statistics correspond, as Government figures show that in just three short years the number of deaths in the UK linked to legal highs grew from 12 in 2009, to 97 in 2012.

It is a growing problem that Dr. Mark Piper, Head of Toxicology at Randox Testing Services, is all too familiar with:

“It’s very much back-room and underground chemistry that’s behind all this. You don’t know what’s in them and what quantities of chemicals are used, and therefore how much to take. These substances were not even designed to be used on humans, so in taking them you are playing Russian roulette with your life.”

Piper added; “In supporting the fantastic investigative team from the BBC we are glad to assist in highlighting this growing epidemic which has had shattering effects on families and communities across the UK.”

The intense rise in prevalence of legal highs and their catastrophic effects has sparked the debate of a controversial Psychoactive Substances Bill, which potentially will implement a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of any substance defined as having a ‘psychoactive effect’.

This BBC Scotland documentary will air tonight, Monday, 5th October 2015, on BBC One Scotland at 9p.m.


Protect your family from early heart disease with a simple blood test

On World Heart Day 2015, Randox Laboratories unveiled a rapid, highly accurate diagnostic test to identify individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a common disorder that is passed from parents to their children. FH is often called the ‘silent killer’ as it is characterised by dangerously high levels of cholesterol, leading to early onset cardiovascular disease. The good news is that if diagnosed, FH can be effectively treated; the even better news this National Cholesterol Month is that this new test has made diagnosis across the UK much simpler.

Thousands of families in the UK are affected by FH, as not only is heart disease the number one killer across the globe, there is a 50:50 chance that a parent with FH will pass it onto their children. The condition can lead to higher risk of a heart attack in men before the age of 50, or before the age of 60 in women.

A common disease, at least 1 in every 500 people in the UK are living with FH, although new international research suggests that 1 in every 200 people could be affected, which would mean as many as 300,000 people in the UK. Worryingly, it is substantially underdiagnosed and less than 12% of people with FH in the UK are aware that they have this potentially life-threatening condition.

The current recommended screening techniques are costly and time consuming, limiting the number of individuals who benefit from a timely diagnosis. Under NHS guidelines, when a person is found to have FH, their closest blood relatives should get tested too – including children before the age of 10. The new test allows definitive diagnosis within one day, rather than the usual weeks or even months for current tests, removing unnecessary anxiety and allowing people to take immediate action before it’s too late.

The new molecular test that has been developed by Randox Laboratories in Crumlin, Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, enables detection of the 40 most common genetic mutations that cause FH in the UK, with results available in just three hours. With early and appropriate treatment, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking cholesterol-lowering medication, risk of heart disease can be significantly reduced so that someone with FH can live as long as a person who doesn’t have the condition.

Professor John Chapman, Past- President of the European Atherosclerosis Society, which promotes study into the causes of accelerated atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, has welcomed the new test for suspected cases of FH:

“FH is a serious condition for those with a family history of accelerated atherosclerosis and premature cardiovascular disease. With this information, preventative measures including diet, lifestyle and lipid lowering drugs can be successfully introduced. Indeed, early identification and prevention can significantly benefit all family members potentially with this condition. In fact, we are entering an exciting time in the treatment of those with cardiovascular disease as new and highly effective drugs for lipid management are becoming available.”

The test, which is available through Randox Health Clinics, has been adopted by medical professionals within the NHS, including Dr. Colin Graham, recently retired Consultant Clinical Scientist and former Head of the Regional Genetics Lab in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who introduced the test within his Belfast Laboratory screen for suspected cases of FH:

“The launch of this new clinically available test is a key milestone in the detection and diagnosis of FH. Current FH diagnostic tests require a large volume of samples to be batched, leading to lengthy turnaround times of two to three months. With the new test, the turnaround time is dramatically reduced, enabling more rapid patient diagnosis.”

Dr. Graham also highlighted the importance of improving detection rates through the screening of wider patient populations:

“This new test has the potential to enable FH screening to become routine in the clinical setting for improved detection and earlier identification of familial cases.”

Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories said:

“In the battle against cardiovascular disease, people with FH are on the front line. On World Heart Day it is important to raise awareness of FH as many people do not even know that they and their family members have this life-threatening condition. There is so much that can be done to support families with FH and with this readily available and much-needed test, detecting and treating entire families with FH is now possible.”

For more information please contact our Randox Comms Team:

Email: amy.mcilwaine@randox.com

Tel: 028 9445 1016


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Clot-busting drug doesn’t work for 1-in-4 patients – calls for aspirin resistance screening

  • Millions prescribed aspirin to combat blood clotting – but it doesn’t work for 25% of patients
  • Those who test positive at ‘significantly’ increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Countless lives could be saved by new £10 Urine test created by Randox to identify aspirin resistant patients

An aspirin a day may not necessarily keep the doctor away, especially if you are among the 1-in 4 people in Britain resistant to the beneficial effects of the ‘wonder drug.

A small dose of aspirin is taken by millions across Britain and around the world to thin the blood, in an attempt to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but major clinical studies have shown that for 1-in-4 aspirin is ineffective. Validated research has also revealed that the risk of having a heart attack and indeed dying from a cardiovascular event is significantly higher in aspirin resistant patients.

NOT A SILVER BULLET

One of the powerful effects of aspirin is that it inhibits the production of a blood clotting chemical called thromboxane, and as such, it is widely prescribed for the prevention of cardio vascular disease; however the blood thinning properties of aspirin do not work for everybody. In aspirin resistant patients, blood thinning is poor, therefore there is a greater likelihood of clots forming in arteries which are narrowed by fatty and fibrous plaques resulting in heart attack and stroke.

Responding to the problem, scientists at UK Biotechnology Company Randox have developed a new test for aspirin resistance, as Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald explains:

“We are faced with the fact that thousands of patients are at increased risk because they are not getting the benefits from their aspirin treatment. Some people have genetic resistance to aspirin, but high cholesterol, diabetes and pre-diabetes (affecting an estimated 1-in-3 people In England) may significantly contribute to the poor aspirin response. Aspirin effectiveness can also be reduced by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. To make sure these patients get the right treatment, we have developed a simple, £10 urine test, which can detect if a person is responding to their daily aspirin therapy.”

Dr Paul RJ Ames, Consultant in Haemostasis & Thrombosis at St George’s Hospital, London, who has been working with the new test, believes it could have a significant impact on the health of hundreds of thousands of patients in the UK and is calling for doctors to take aspirin resistance seriously: 

“Doctors need to realise that aspirin, the cornerstone of much cardiac therapy is not working for up to 25% of those taking it! Then there are the side effects such as ulcers to consider. Why should you continue to take something that actually isn’t doing any good?! It is also worrying that aspirin resistant patients are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack and almost four times more likely to suffer cardiovascular death than those who are responsive. This increased risk has been clinically validated in internationally recognised research and frontline care must take this knowledge into account. We need to begin testing for aspirin resistance, so that we can identify patients who need alternative treatments, ultimately reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke.”

INCREASED RISK OF DEATH

A ‘meta-analysis’ (summary of 20 studies) published in the British Medical Journal, tracked almost 3000 patients with cardiovascular disease. They were tested and 28% (810 patients) were found to be aspirin resistant. The researchers discovered that 41% of the aspirin resistant patients had a CVD related event, 39.4% of them experienced Acute Coronary Syndrome and 5.7% died. The study concluded that aspirin resistant patients are at a much greater risk of serious cardiovascular disease compared to patients who are sensitive to aspirin.

Meanwhile a major Canadian research project which studied 976 aspirin treated patients, found that those who were aspirin resistant were twice as likely to have a heart attack, and worryingly, almost 4 times at greater risk of cardiovascular death. 

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are more than a quarter of a million heart attacks and strokes in the UK each year, it is not yet known how many of these were suffered by aspirin resistant patients, but it is evident that aspirin, the basis of treatment for millions at cardiovascular risk, is not a one-pill-wonder.

For the first time, a test is available which can rapidly and accurately identify aspirin resistance, a breakthrough in individual patient management; with the potential to revolutionise health care for those with cardiovascular risk.


Randox calls for patients and prescribers to ‘resist and desist’ antibiotic use

  • UK-based diagnostics firm supporting call for responsible use of antibiotics in conjunction with European and International Antibiotics Awareness initiatives
  • New molecular diagnostic multiplex assays hold the key to first-time, accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases
  • Assays have the power to diagnose primary, secondary and asymptomatic co-infections to inform appropriate antibiotic prescribing

UK-based diagnostics company, Randox Laboratories, is supporting the call for patients and prescribers to ‘resist and desist’ antibiotic use in the fight against antimicrobial resistance this European Antibiotics Awareness Day. Coinciding with international awareness weeks in Australia, Canada and the USA, the concerted efforts of health authorities around the world to curb the spread of antimicrobial resistance is testimony to the global reach of the issue.

Now declared a ‘major threat’ by the World Health Organisation, Randox has been working at the forefront of this global challenge to deliver effective diagnostic solutions to arm against this growing problem. Developed over two decades of research and an investment of £200m, Randox’s innovative Biochip Array Technology (BAT) is the latest weapon in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, with the ability to simultaneously detect multiple pathogens in a single test for rapid and accurate diagnosis.

Randox’s range of molecular assays within infectious disease enable the detection of primary, secondary and asymptomatic co-infections for a more comprehensive understanding of the drivers of infection in individual patients. The Randox STI Multiplex Array simultaneously detects up to 10 pathogens from a single patient sample, whilst the Randox Respiratory Multiplex Array rapidly screens for 22 bacterial and viral upper and lower respiratory tract infections, with same day result reporting, for rapid diagnosis.

As Randox Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald CBE FREng explains, screening for all potential pathogens in infectious disease is vital in ensuring accurate diagnoses can be made; “Even after a confirmed diagnosis, many patients who haven’t been tested for a wider range of pathogens may harbour co-infections, impeding the effectiveness of therapeutic treatment and prolonging exposure to infection.

“Through a more comprehensive screening strategy at initial presentation, a complete patient profile can be obtained which will give clinicians greater understanding of the working of the disease and allow them to diagnose and prescribe correctly, ruling in or out the need for antibiotics, and helping to control their appropriate use.”

Antibiotic resistance has largely been fuelled by patient and prescriber overreliance on using antibiotics to treat disease. Once considered to be ‘magic bullets’ for curing infections, antibiotics are now firing blanks as they become ineffective against many common and treatable infectious diseases, such as the sexually transmitted infection, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and respiratory tract infections such as staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus pneumoniae, which have been shown to be acquiring increasing levels of resistance to antibiotic treatment.

“First-time, accurate diagnosis of infection through molecular testing is key to treating infections correctly. The availability of these assays provides a powerful weapon in the fight against antimicrobial resistance and we would encourage health providers around the world to utilise this technology to help curb the spread of the problem.”

For more information visit Randox: www.randox.com.


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