Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW) is a week dedicated to increasing public understanding and appreciation for the clinical laboratory profession. During this week, we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the hard work of our Research and Development team. Allow us to provide you an insight into the life changing work of our scientists in the laboratories.
At Randox, our scientists work tirelessly to develop revolutionary diagnostic tests that are used in hospital and research laboratories across the globe.
We spoke to one of our biochemistry R&D Scientists to gain an insight into what working in a clinical chemistry laboratory entails. Emmett Donnelly, Clinical Chemistry R&D Scientist, is involved in the development of new reagents and the improvement of existing reagents. Emmett commented, “[My] role also involves the transfer and testing of existing chemistries onto new analyser platforms. Troubleshooting and resolving customer queries also forms part of a clinical analyst’s role”. Emmett’s work is vital to ensure that patient tests are performing correctly, and to develop ground-breaking new technologies leading to better patient outcomes. To find out more about the work Emmett does, watch this video below.
Our scientists are committed to research and development and thrive knowing that their novel research is putting them at the forefront of clinical diagnostics.
In fact, prior to beginning work at Randox, Scott Paulin, Clinical Chemistry R&D team, took part in a three month expedition to Antarctica to intensely study human response-based research in athletes. A number of papers have been published in peer reviewed journals as a result of Scott’s research, as the findings have provided a useful insight into the physiological stress and responses associated with an Antarctic ultra-endurance race and nutritional counterstrategies to help maintain immune responses, function body weight and reduce stress markers. Read the full article here.
At Randox, our scientists are of the highest calibre, with vast experience and expertise which ensures we are producing the highest quality range of clinical diagnostic tests.
Excitingly as a result, American astronauts have enlisted our help to test their antioxidant levels before they go to space! This is essential as it ensures astronauts can survive long periods of time away from earth. To find out more about how important our Total Antioxidant Status (TAS) test is for astronauts, read our blog post here.
The invaluable work our scientists undertake in the laboratory is vital to ensure healthcare is advanced globally. Thanks to those in our Research and Development team, we are proud to be able to offer the widest range of clinical chemistry reagents and unique tests for medical diagnosis. Due to our scientist’s dedication to research, a continual focus is placed on developing tests that assess the risk of diseases, rather than diagnosing the illness after it has occurred. As a result, Randox are helping to change healthcare, as patients are provided the ability to take preventative action early. In the words of our R&D scientist Emmett Donnelly, “for me, my work supports the old saying prevention is better than cure”.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our fantastic team of R&D Scientists! If you would like to find out more about the work of Randox Reagents, please get in contact by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to view our homepage.
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!
A stark warning has been issued this week by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) that NHS cancer testing services are at tipping point, caused by increased demand and a lack of capacity.
Tackling this is essential, according to pathology expert Professor Manual Salto-Tellez, “We need to act now before this situation gets worse. It’s vital that patients are diagnosed at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be successful.”
CRUK says the UK’s cancer survival falls behind that of other European countries and is urging an improvement in early diagnosis through diagnostic services. The importance of this is emphasised by estimates from the charity that cancer diagnoses in the UK will rise from 352,000 (2013) to 500,000 (2035).
According to the report:
- One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime
- Well-resourced testing services are crucial to early diagnosis of cancer which in turn is vital to increase survival rates
- Up to 70% of clinical decisions are based on diagnostic testing
- Pathology numbers are not growing to meet rising demand for tests
Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK’s director of policy, said;
“Diagnostic services, including pathology, urgently need support and investment to ensure that diagnoses aren’t delayed and patients benefit from the latest treatment. The diagnostic bottleneck will only get worse without action now and this involves addressing staff shortages in imaging, endoscopy and pathology.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said, “Early and fast diagnosis is crucial in improving patient outcomes and experience. Getting pathology test results to patients quickly is a key part of this. That’s why we have invested over £2.5bn on efficient and robust pathology services across the NHS.”
Following the publication of the report Dr Martin Crockard, Head of Molecular R&D at Randox, said;
“As populations continue to age, illnesses like cancer, stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular disease will become more common. We know this is going to have a huge impact on healthcare systems but what is yet to be determined is how they will respond.
“Currently 70% of clinical decisions are using in-vitro diagnostics and that will likely increase – therefore it’s essential that pathology services are fully supported. Better diagnostics enables clinicians to make evidence-based decisions, which delivers improved patient outcomes.”
For more information regarding our preventive health philosophy please contact our PR team via email: email@example.com
Did you know that one of the reasons we entered into partnership with the Jockey Club is because we are experts in the field of Equine Health?
Well now you do!
Not only do we have a history of being involved in equestrian events, (we host the Randox Point-to-Point event for our local community every year, and International Polo Tournaments in both Scotland and Bushmills, on the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland), but we also have over 34 years’ experience in the diagnostics industry, during which we have developed innovative and accurate diagnostic products for Equine Health.
That may sound complicated but vets, trainers and owners have been working with us for years so that we can help them better understand their horses’ health and wellbeing.
To recognise the importance of what we do, you must know that more than 70% of all medical decisions are based on an analysis of your blood.
Using our innovative blood-science technology we can obtain a comprehensive profile of not only your body’s current health, but also your future health. This is the same for horses!
In the development of our own dedicated Equine Health Programme, we’ve learnt a thing or two. We know that endurance racehorses require extra attention as a result of intense physical exercise, and therefore monitoring what’s going on in their blood is vitally important.
To give an example, monitoring the Total Antioxidant Status of your horse is a sure-fire way to detect whether he or she has suffered muscle cell injury or trauma.
A reduction in the overall antioxidant status of your horse inhibits its body’s defence and monitoring the TAS is therefore an efficient way to identify risk of injury, determine the levels of training required and establish appropriate recovery times to maintain their wellbeing.
If your horse is often transported between locations it’s also important to monitor his or her TAS. The Total Antioxidant Status of a horse may increase after long-haul road transportation, indicating that your horse is stressed.
So, as you can see, you can tell a lot about the health of your horse by looking at what’s going on in their blood. We’re the experts in this area so we can share our knowledge with you, explain the importance of particular biomarkers in observing the health of your horse, and advise you what areas of your horse’s health you should be monitoring if you have particular concerns.
Let’s say for example your horse is undergoing intense training.
We would recommend that you monitor their levels of Superoxide Dismutase. This enzyme can let you know whether they are suffering from any muscle pain, stiffness, joint weakness, loss of muscle strength, stamina and flexibility, amongst other issues. It is important to know whether their current training is regime is benefitting them, or encumbering them.
If injury is suspected, we then advise that you monitor your horse’s levels of Creatine Kinase.
Any damage to your horse’s heart, skeletal muscle or brain tissue will result in a spike of Creatine Kinase in the blood. By monitoring CK, you can determine any muscle trauma, bruising, wasting, abscesses, inflammation, infection and recurring muscle damage.
Laminitis, a painful inflammatory condition of the tissue, is often one of the most concerning conditions for any horse, as historically there has been minimal opportunity to detect the risk or early stages of the disease. Randox Adiponectin, a protein hormone, is now being used in conjunction with other current biomarkers to successfully detect the risk of this disease and allow earlier management of the condition in the aim to remove the risk completely or reduce its life-altering impact.
The importance in monitoring these biomarkers is of course that it enables early treatment, which greatly improves your horse’s prognosis and chances of recovery.
Swift treatment upon diagnosis of trauma ensures that your horse is kept healthy and happy, and our customers agree! We work with a number of key Veterinary Hospitals around the world, including Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, the Official Equine Hospital of the Breeders’ Cup in Lexington, Kentucky, (known as ‘The Horse Capital of the World!), and The Irish Equine Centre in Kildare, Ireland.
Jean Hearn, Biochemistry Lab Manager at The Irish Equine Centre, commented;
“As a long time customer of Randox Laboratories, over thirty years, I feel I am in a good position to offer an opinion on the company. Initially we dealt with Randox for Chemistry Reagents and ELISA kits, as they offered a very good range for us working in the veterinary field. However when they launched their Randox Daytona, we found it to be an essential additional analyser in our laboratory, due to the fact that it was capable of running tests that prior to that we were running with very labour intensive methods. eg various minerals and it also broadened the range of tests we could offer to our customers ,eg. acute phase proteins.
“Support has always been good from Randox and the staff always very pleasant and helpful.”
Of course what your horse eats plays a huge role in their health too.
High quality horse feed is paramount for race horses in particular whose speed, agility and most importantly, health, is dependent on them receiving all the nutrients they require.
Our Randox Food Diagnostics ensures the safety of horse feed by screening the food for harmful mycotoxins which can grow on a variety of different crops including cereals, grains and fruits, and can cause a number of health issues for horses, including problems with fertility, sports performance and malnutrition.
And our work in the racing industry doesn’t stop there.
Our Randox Toxicology division creates custom testing panels for the screening of drugs of abuse, on our patented Randox Biochip Array Technology, which has revolutionised the diagnostics industry by allowing multiple tests to be run simultaneously on a single, undivided patient sample.
Screening for drug abuse amongst jockeys in this way (we currently work with Jockey Clubs around the world including Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong) protects the safety of the horses and ensures races are won on the jockeys’ and the animals’ natural abilities.
Hopefully you now have a flavour for the work that we do in the racing and veterinary industries to ensure the health and wellbeing of horses. We hope that through our sponsorship of the Randox Health Grand National we can share our knowledge and expertise in the field of Equine Health, Horse Feed Screening and Jockey Toxicology with the racing fraternity.
Just as we promote a message of preventive health to racing fans, the same applies to the horses we love.
For further information on how we work to keep horses healthy, please contact our Randox PR Team.
T: 028 9445 1016
Key to Randox’s ongoing success is having a loyal and dedicated team.
Last week Environmental Manager and Land Steward, Susan Kinkead, retired from Randox after committing 31 years to Randox’s vision of revolutionising healthcare.
Susan was a dedicated member of the Randox team and will be sadly missed, so we sat down with her to hear a little bit about her time working here at Randox and what memories she will be taking home with her.
Hi Susan, when did you start your career with Randox?
I started working at Randox in 1985 when it was still situated on the Randox Road. I had just moved home from South Africa and my father had seen in the local paper that Randox were recruiting. The next day my husband rang up and spoke with Peter who told him to send me up the next day for an interview. So the next day I went down to meet Peter and he told me I could start in the morning.
Where did you work when you first started?
When I first started I did a bit of everything. My first job was centrifuging fetal calf serum believe it or not, but there weren’t very many of us at this point. I distinctively remember Mrs FitzGerald coming out to us with wheaten bread and cheese and chatting to all the workers. After a while we moved everything up in horseboxes to headquarters here in Ardmore. This is when I moved to Quantity Control and after a while I changed positions to Packaging and Dispense Manager. In between this I left for a few years, but I came back, worked in the Training Department and then into Quality Assurance. Peter moved me onto Environmental Manager and a few years later I was given the role of Land Steward.
What is your best memory from working at Randox?
My best memories is when I got the opportunity to travel with the company. Peter and I got to go to Karachi Lahore in Pakistan back when I was Packaging and Dispense Manager. If you are prepared to work and put the hard graft in then you will get fantastic opportunities. I got to develop systems and was given free rein to do what I thought was best. You don’t get those sort of opportunities these days in many companies.
What will you miss the most after you leave Randox?
I will miss the people that I worked with. I believe that if you have a good team behind you then anything is possible. It’s a lot of hard work but you don’t get things done unless you have a good team behind you. I always felt a sense of worth working here at Randox and I got to accomplish a lot of things so I think I will miss that feeling.
What plans do you have for your retirement?
I hope to spend time on my garden and my house I am also looking forward to taking time out to set up my beehives, making honey and maybe putting my feet up!
We wish Susan all the best for the future and a very happy and relaxing retirement!
For more information please contact Aisling in our PR team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Randox helping to transform healthcare in Cameroon following partnership with Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Foundation (LUKMEF)
Treating general health conditions and patients with HIV/AIDs in rural Cameroon is being transformed thanks to an initiative and partnership between global diagnostics company Randox and the not-for-profit organization LUKMEF Cameroon.
Until now thousands of people living in the remote village of Awing, in the Santa District, in the North West region of Cameroon, struggled to pay the costs of travel to the North capital city of Bamenda, in order to be tested for complications associated with conditions like HIV/AIDs. Many never made the journey at all, and many died as a result. Now, following the purchase of the state-of-the-art clinical chemical analyser ‘RX Monza’ has been installed in The Awing Health Centre and testing is being offered at minimal cost for the community.The purchase of the Rx Monza was fully financed by the subsidiary office – LUKMEF Switzerland.
The RX Monza is part of the RX Series which has been developed by Randox to meet the growing needs of clinical laboratory testing. This analyser will open exciting opportunities for both routine and specialised testing including coagulation testing worldwide.
LUKMEF, a non-governmental organisation based in the South West of Cameroon, delivered the RX Monza to the hospital in Awing on the 13th September. LUKMEF was founded in 1999 and has completed dozens of projects in peace building, democracy, education and human rights, helping thousands of Cameroonians live healthier and more powerful lives.
Sharon Martin, LUKMEF Board Member and Director of Youth Programmes, said,
LUKMEF aims to empower communities by enabling them to take responsibility for themselves but poverty has been a major obstacle to that when it comes to accessing healthcare. The cost for transportation to Bamenda, coupled with the cost of testing for complications associated with these life-threatening viruses – even at 1 or 2 GBP – was too high for many and the natural consequence was that many never got the help they needed. By providing very low cost testing for people by installing the RX Monza in the Awing Health Centre, we will ensure that people no longer experience unnecessary suffering caused by poverty.
Collaborating with Randox has been fantastic and we are looking forward to expanding this partnership for future initiatives.
Co-founder of LUKMEF, Mr. Tanyi Christian said,
This is a development in healthcare our communities could have only dreamed of until now. There are over three million people living in this region. This piece of equipment will enable the hospital lab to conduct low cost biochemical testing for patients from more than five villages.
Business Development Manager Colin Palmer for Central Europe, EMA and Sub-Saharan Africa said,
It is fantastic for everyone here at Randox to see real life examples of how we are achieving our goal of revolutionising healthcare worldwide. The RX Monza is a semi-automated chemistry analyser that allows the user increased-testing speed in comparison to manual testing, meaning more samples can be run in less time and at a much cheaper cost. This is going to have a significant impact on the local community and nearby villages who couldn’t afford to pay for transport to Bamenda, the region’s capital. The RX Monza delivers accurate results that Awing hospital can depend on and will help save thousands of lives.
Randox is dedicated to creating innovative high quality products aimed at improving and enhancing diagnostics and people’s wellbeing across the globe. Over 100,000 end users are using Randox products and every second of every day 80 Randox tests are used across the world.
For further information please contact our Randox Comms Team on 028 9442 2413 or email email@example.com
You may have read in the news this week that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to invest $3 billion over the next decade to help further and advance medical research. Investments will go towards a research facility, named the Biohub, which will focus on developing new tools to research, understand and treat diseases, and of particular interest to us here at Randox, on creating a chip to diagnose disease.
Here at Randox we fully support this drive to further research that is devoted to revolutionising healthcare. We commit up to 16% of turnover to research and development each year and currently over 20% of the world’s major laboratories are using Randox products.
In particular, we invested £220 million into the development of our Biochip Array Technology (BAT). The Randox biochip has revolutionised the diagnostics industry by facilitating the detection of a wide range of markers of disease from a single undivided sample. This not only enhances patient diagnosis but reduces the amount of time spent on individual tests and associated laboratory costs.
Our expertise, highly specialised scientists and world-class ISO accredited manufacturing facilities enables early, accurate, informed clinical decisions in the areas of veterinary testing, molecular research and diagnostics, drug development, food safety and forensic and clinical toxicology.
Our Randox Health clinics use our Biochip to allow people to avail of the complete portfolio of Randox routine and novel tests to empower their health decisions. This new and exciting service provides personalised and preventive health profiling for each individual.
Speaking about the biochip Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox said,
“Many years of development and the expertise of our highly qualified scientists have gone into the creation of Randox Biochip Array Technology. This scientific development will facilitate the simultaneous quantitative or qualitative detection of a wide range of analytes from a single undivided sample. This approach both proteomic and genomic enables an enhanced patient diagnosis, optimum efficiency and consolidation of cost. Our arrays are suitable for use in a wide range of settings including clinical and research laboratories, biopharmaceutical organisations, forensic and clinical toxicology, hospital laboratories, food testing and veterinary laboratories.”
We are delighted that Chan Zuckerberg’s interest in this area brings to the forefront the importance of improving healthcare through innovative diagnostics. It is clear that Randox and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative share a common goal to revolutionise healthcare worldwide and we believe that the Randox Biochip can play an important role in realising this vision.
For further information please contact our Randox Comms Team on 028 9445 1016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Enquire to find out more about the RX series range of advanced clinical chemistry analysers
Age is associated with increases in body weight, body fat, abdominal fat, deterioration of muscles, and arthritis. However, everything in the body happens at the cellular level. Outward signs of aging that you may see, such as wrinkles and grey hair, are only symptoms of what is happening on a microscopic scale.
A study carried out by Raul A Martins, using the RX imola, outlined an experiment, investigating how we can affect our own inner-biological make-up, on a much deeper scale than muscle build-up, through exercise and activity:
“To investigate the training effect of sixteen weeks of moderate intensity, progressive aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health of old women and men. Sixty three sedentary individuals were randomly assigned to control or exercising groups. The training group was separated to aerobic or strength-based. Training took place 3 times a week. Subjects agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period. Exercising group attained after treatment significant differences on body weight, waist circumference, body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol relationship, high sensitivity C-reaction protein and 6 minute walk distance. The control group only had significant differences on waist circumference” wrote R.A. Martins and colleagues, university of Coimbra.”
As shown in the experiment, exercising does not only affect our muscle mass and body fat index. It does, in fact, affect us on a cellular level.
Before outward aging symptoms are expressed, your cells, your DNA, and everything that makes up you is reacting to your lifestyle and responding appropriately. A particularly lifestyle-sensitive part of your DNA associated with aging are telomeres.
Telomeres are caps at the ends of DNA strands, made up of a combination of DNA and protein. They protect the ends of the chromosome and keep them stable. Telomeres, however, are incredibly sensitive and have a tendency to become damaged and unravel, prompting a process called “telomere shortening”. Telomeres are associated with the changing nature of our bodies, and therefore, are classed as important aging biomarkers – with their length indicating lifespan. Each time our cells divide, our telomeres shorten. After many dozens of years of cell division, these biomarkers have reached a point where they can longer become any shorter. At this point, cell division discontinues and this is where aging will occur, as cells begin to die faster than they are created. Our body begins to break down. Effects such as hair falling out and skin sagging, are all symptoms of telomere damage or shortening. Telomere shortening has not only been associated with aging, but also age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
There is good news, Martins noted in his experiment that exercise appears to keep telomeres from unravelling, shortening and becoming damaged, and therefore, can be classed as a natural anti-aging activity.
Through examining white blood cells, scientists can monitor telomere shortening (and damaging) whilst monitoring exercise and lifestyle of subjects. Another group of scientists in Germany conducted a similar experiment, gathering women and men of different ages to examine their lifespans relative to exercising, they noted:
The sedentary older subjects had telomeres that were on average 40 percent shorter than in the sedentary young subjects, suggesting that the older subjects’ cells were, like them, aging. The runners, on the other hand, had remarkably youthful telomeres, a bit shorter than those in the young runners, but only by about 10 percent. In general, telomere loss was reduced by approximately 75 percent in the aging runners. Or, to put it more succinctly, exercise, Dr. Werner says, ‘‘at the molecular level has an anti-aging effect.’’
(Gretchen Reynolds, 2010)
So, to put a number on it, studies show, exercise can reduce the aging process by up to a whopping 75%.
As well as it’s anti-aging properties, there are a surplus of other benefits of exercising, such as increased release of endorphins and relieving of muscular pain. Currently, there’s a good deal of research being conducted into potential drug based approaches for telomere shortening, yet these drugs are still years away. So, for now, exercise and healthy eating is the only known way to stave off aging… As if we needed another healthy reason to get active!
Read more about the experiment conducted on the RX imola:
Hearing loss is often associated with old age, tinnitus or balance disorders. However, studies show that anyone can be affected by hearing loss, at any age if exposed to a chemical present in many common household products.
Chances are, you take your senses for granted. Associated generally with deterioration in old age, we never assume we will go deaf or blind in our younger years. Nevertheless, approximately 3 million children in the USA suffer from hearing loss and this number is on the rise. (CHC, 2016)
In 2006, a study was released detailing the mysterious premature hearing loss of a collection of employees in a manufacturing site in Taiwan, specialising in adhesive materials. Chang, Chen, Lien, and Sung narrowed the phenomenon that was the loss of the worker’s auditory sense down to the responsibility of one chemical: Toluene.
Chemical-induced hearing loss, also known as “ototoxicity”, can affect anyone of any age and today, there are over 200 known ototoxic medications on the market known to cause damage to the inner ear containing chemicals largely known to induce ototoxicity such as Syrene and Xylene.
However, sold in many high-street shops, you’ll find the biggest player in the cause of ototoxicity: Toluene. Toluene is a major component of paints, varnishes, petroleum, printing inks, degreasers, adhesives, cigarette smoke, glues, thinners, and plastics. Exposure to Toluene, such as inhalation, ingestion or skin contact, is known to cause not only hearing loss, but commonly can be a factor in causing Tinnitus, Dermatitis, and vision impairment. In general, the component can wreak havoc for the central nervous system and prolonged exposure to high concentrations of the colourless liquid may result in loss of consciousness, and may even be fatal.
Wanisiusiow, whose findings were conducted using the RX series’ RX daytona and a Randox creatinine kit stated, “Toluene is undoubtedly one of the most widely used organic solvents in industry.” But how does Toluene do it? Wanisusiow goes on to state, “As far as we know, there are two major mechanisms which might explain toluene-induced hearing loss. Firstly, a poisoning of Deiters and Hensen’s cells, which are both important to maintain the K+ homeostasis in the vicinity of outer hair cells. Secondly, an oxidative cell injury, such as lipid peroxidation.”
An interesting point uncovered in this study is that suffering the severe side-effect of Toluene seems to be species-specific. The original experiment, carried out on rats, displayed expected symptoms of ototoxicity. However, guinea pigs reacted differently. The study speculates: The half-life of toluene is longer in the rat than in the guinea pig. This might be one way to explain the difference in cochlear sensitivity to toluene between rats and guinea pigs but likely not the only one.
So, what is it in the genetic makeup of guinea pigs, that rats do not possess, that could fight the negative effects of Toluene? Could learning what causes guinea pigs immunity be beneficial to our research into hearing loss?