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Articles tagged with: Diagnostic assays/markers/tests/test kits –

Procalcitonin passes automation hurdle

December 2016—Matt Damon in Interstellar. Julia Roberts in The Player. Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein. When movie stars appear in uncredited parts, it’s usually for a cameo, not a leading role. But in diagnostics, an uncredited or off-label use of an assay might be its main use—possibly even its most clinically important use.

Up next for MALDI-TOF mass spec: AFB, molds

November 2016—Behold the humble API strip, made of plastic, with multiple miniature test chambers, interpreted with the aid of a color chart, and long a mainstay of microbiology laboratories.

Epi proColon fires up hopes of capturing screening dodgers

November 2016—When a Hollywood producer forecasts box office receipts, or a public health official contemplates action against a deadly but preventable cancer, there’s one hypothetical that might make both shudder: What if you held a screening and nobody came?

Sequencing goes deep to find rubella in uveitis patient

November 2016—Metagenomic deep sequencing, or MDS, has scored another coup in the diagnosis of an unexplained disease in a patient who had already had extensive workup with all other available tools. MDS had been used in 2014 to detect unsuspected leptospirosis in a critically ill encephalitis patient, enabling appropriate treatment and full recovery. Now some of the same clinical scientists at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center who helped diagnose that patient have identified rubella virus infection in the eyes of a patient with bilateral chronic intraocular uveitis that had been misdiagnosed as idiopathic inflammation for 16 years.

Labs enter a MALDI-TOF state of mind

October 2016—When MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry enters the microbiology lab, it’s a little like watching Sir John Falstaff settle his considerable girth onstage. Things happen. Characters fret and flee, scheme, opine, panic, and, in the case of Prince Hal, ascend to greatness. (And, if we’re honest, some just get drunk.) Both, in brief, are an upending presence.

Yale researchers dig for new kidney biomarkers

October 2016—An automated immunoassay has been created for symmetric dimethylarginine, or SDMA, a biomarker that can detect chronic kidney disease between 10 to 17 months earlier than creatinine, with 100 percent sensitivity and 91 percent specificity. And, unlike with creatinine, a patient’s muscle mass does not influence the biomarker’s reliability.

Beauty fad’s ugly downside: test interference

September 2016—It’s the kind of health promotion advice one might pick up casually over lunch with friends, in a quick Google search, or during a visit to the hairdresser. Take megadoses of an over-the-counter vitamin called biotin—a common supplement in multivitamin compounds—and watch your skin improve and your hair and nails thicken and gleam. In recent years, online social networks and health-related websites have begun to teem with ads claiming that people have seen a transformation since they jumped on the biotin bandwagon.

Mass spec up front for pain management testing: Interest growing in oral fluid testing as alternative to urine testing

September 2016—This fall, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, is taking the mass spec leap. A plucky PR person might be tempted to refer to it as MassSpec LEAP!™ but Stacy Melanson, MD, PhD, doesn’t have time for such nonsense. As the associate director of clinical laboratories and co-director of chemistry, Dr. Melanson has more important matters to attend to. She and her colleagues are shifting from using a screening immunoassay for pain management drug testing to up-front definitive testing by LC tandem mass spectrometry.

Poisoning, overdose: Better technology, workflow improve patient odds

July 2016—As pronouncements by fictional detectives go, one of the most famous is Sherlock Holmes’ declaration to Dr. Watson: “When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Unfortunately, Holmes’ advice is no practical rule of thumb for solving the real-world mysteries of patient poisoning or overdose, because the possibilities are often so vast.

Early days, early detection, early treatment for HIV

May 2016—In 1985, when the first test for HIV—then called human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III—became available, it was approved for screening blood products but not for diagnostic use. A diagnostic test for antibody to HIV-1 was soon approved. Over the subsequent 30-plus years, further iterations of HIV screening tests have been made, with increasing sensitivity and specificity and a shorter window to detection. Fifth-generation tests are now under review. CAP TODAY asked Eileen Burd, PhD, D(ABMM), to discuss the evolution of HIV diagnostics and algorithms for using them and to give a qualitative evaluation of the pending fifth-generation assay.

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