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
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
We are encouraging you to #LoveYourHeart this Valentine’s Day! Read on to find out why your heart health should matter to you this #HeartMonth!
Fact: Did you know people with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people without diabetes?¹
Good diabetes control is imperative! If you have diabetes take control and monitor your treatment to ensure you are safe from complications such as cardiovascular disease…
Many complications associated with diabetes include kidney disease, eye disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetic ketoacidosis (a life threatening condition that can develop in insulin dependent diabetics).
If you have diabetes, being physically active and controlling your weight and blood pressure will help manage your blood sugar level; and therefore help manage the risk of cardiac diseases.
However a few simple routine tests may also be carried out to ensure normal kidney function. Normal kidney function in a diabetic patient means that diabetes is being controlled well, however if kidney function begins to deteriorate then you will know that measures need to be taken to control diabetes better.
Speciality tests to assess kidney function which can be requested include:
- Cystatin C – a sensitive marker of kidney function used for detection of early renal dysfunction in diabetic patients. It is important to note that Creatinine is the routine test for renal dysfunction, however it has a blind range which means it is unable to detect elevated Creatinine levels found in stage 2 and halfway through stage 3 renal dysfunction; as a result 50% of kidney function can be lost before elevated Creatinine levels can be seen. The Cystatin C test is a much more sensitive marker and can detect early stages of renal dysfunction, allowing treatment to begin before it is too late.
- Beta-2 Microglobulin – this test is used when kidney damage has occurred to distinguish between the two most commonly affected sites, glomeruli and renal tubules.
Fact: Cardiovascular Diseases are the number one cause of death globally, with more people dying annually from CVDs than any other cause.² In the UK alone, 41,000 people under the age of 75 die from CVD each year.³
If you are worried about your cardiovascular health, or whether you are at risk of a heart attack or stroke, ask your doctor for a cardiovascular risk assessment. Routinely they will run lipid tests such as Total Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides to assess your overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and allow corrective action to be taken.
Look out for hidden risk factors!
Specific tests you may also want to discuss with your doctor include:
- sLDL Cholesterol and Lipoprotein(a) to assess for genetically inherited risks of cardiovascular disease – even if your cholesterol levels are safe you may still be at risk of cardiovascular disease as a result of familial traits
- Adiponectin to assess the level of abdominal visceral fat, of which high levels can increase your cardiovascular risk. Please note that abdominal visceral fat levels or body fat cannot be determined by BMI score, which assesses whether weight is within a healthy range. As such, the Adiponectin test provides a clearer indication of health and is a good predictor of cardiovascular risk
- TxBCardio to assess response to Aspirin therapy for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Up to 30% of patients receiving Aspirin therapy suffer unknowingly from Aspirin resistance. This test enables treatment to be modified and corrected
Asking your doctor for these tests creates an opportunity for corrective action to be taken and can have significant benefits for your health.
Fact: Approximately one woman dies from heart disease every minute, of which 64% had no previous symptoms.4
Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they’re often misunderstood. Media has conditioned us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But in reality, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.
Being aware of these signs can aid early detection, and greatly increase chances of surviving a heart attack!
So don’t forget to #LoveYourHeart this Valentine’s Day! Randox can provide a vast range of specialised blood tests to allow the most accurate diagnosis of diabetes, cardiac risk and associated complications. From all of us here at Randox we wish you an enjoyable Valentine’s Day!
Are you thinking of working at Randox? Great! Whether you’re from a science background, business, or art, Randox embrace multiple disciplines and we, at Randox Careers, are here to give you 5 reasons why you’ll love working with us!
1. Company Culture
Randox have built a team of the most passionate, inspiring and motivated individuals in the industry. Employees of Randox aren’t just a team, but they’re family!
Randox Laboratories likes to celebrate talent, and encourages people to work to their strengths, as recently demonstrated in the largely successful Future in the Making event, which was held to gather and thank Randox employees worldwide for the success of the growth of the company. Randox encouraged employees to share their experiences through the hashtag #WeAreRandox. Check it out, here!
2. Learning Opportunities are Endless!
Due to the size of Randox, and the vast specialties in the health sector, Randox Laboratories has a lot to offer in teaching new, innovative techniques in business, science, design, technology, engineering, and many more!
Randox is a great place to be given the opportunity to get creative in your industry! Work is always fast-paced, forward-thinking and open to fresh, innovative ideas! Peter FitzGerald (Randox Founder & MD) stated “We never stand still here! Our mission is to transform healthcare by continuously improving diagnostic solutions, which, for us, ultimately means saving lives.”
Randox Laboratories is not only a great place to grow, develop and climb the career-ladder whilst in full-time work, but it encourages growth in students, too! Renowned for their highly active Placement programs for 1st and 2nd year students, Randox offers 50+ positions each year for every sector. We hold a special awards ceremony for our highest achieving students at the end of the year, commending them for their outstanding work at Randox! You can read about the Pinnacle Placement Awards and see this year’s winners here.
3. Randox is a Globally Respected Brand
Working for a company like Randox will prove your ambition to individuals in every industry globally. We understand your CV is very important to you, and having worked for a well-respected brand like Randox, you’re sure to stand out from the crowd!
4. Be a Jet-setter!
Randox has a large global presence. With offices in over 145 countries, we are frequently attending high profile events in such places as Dubai, Thailand, London, USA, and Paris! (You can check out some of our upcoming events, here.)
You can have the opportunity to experience these beautiful countries with Randox!
5. Let Your Work Change The World
Randox is an influential company and a global leader in the Healthcare and Diagnostics industry, responsible for diagnosing 5% of the population’s conditions. We are dedicated to improving the healthcare industry, and saving lives with our hard work. Randox’s success means better quality of life for the global population, as we discover how to diagnose as early as possible.
Do you want to change the world with us? Join the team, check out our opportunities!
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:
- have high consumable costs
- require highly trained personnel
Immunoturbidimetric tests are carried out on routine biochemistry analysers that are:
- offer longer reagent stability
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.