Since the invention of the first flow cytometer in 1953, this laser-based technique has evolved to become an invaluable tool in basic immunology research as well as in the diagnosis and follow-up of several important diseases and medical conditions.
Having the ability to measure multiple characteristics of individual cells at a rapid rate, this technique has quickly become a cornerstone in the diagnosis and prognosis of disease and for drug therapy monitoring. Among the diseases that rely on this technology are: cancer, hematological disorders, stem cell transplantations, and HIV.
At Biolab, and consistent with our solid belief in the importance of employing cutting-edge technology and utilizing multi-parametric approaches to accurately diagnose medical conditions, extensive efforts are constantly being put to develop our flow cytometry department under the supervision of our lab director Dr. Issa Abu-Dayyeh, an immunologist with previous tumor immunology/Flow cytometry expertise at the University of Oxford, UK.
In addition to the above mentioned markers and panels, new markers and techniques are constantly being introduced. Additional markers for our leukemia panels will be introduced to make them more extensive and remain up to date. Other prognostic markers for hematological malignancies, as well as novel techniques to diagnose acquired hematological diseases are on the way.
Our department would be glad to introduce and develop new tests in coordination with physicians and specialized medical groups.
Here is a summary of the Flow Cytometry Services we currently provide:
1- Evaluating CD4/CD8 counts.
A main target of the HIV virus is CD4+ T cells (T-helper cells). Therefore, it is crucial that HIV-positive patients be monitored for the percentage and absolute numbers of CD4 and CD8 cells. A fall of CD4+ numbers below a threshold level indicates that the patient has become an AIDS patient and that he is critically immunocompromised. Such data strongly affects physicians’ decisions on when and how to start antiretroviral therapy. Our department provides CD4 and CD8 percentages and absolute counts, in addition to the CD4/CD8 ratio enabling physicians to evaluate the immune status of their patients.
2- Natural Killer (NK) cells and recurrent miscarriages.
Miscarriage is one of the most common complications of pregnancy. There are many causes for recurrent miscarriages, one of which is immunological. It has been shown that some women with recurrent miscarriages have more natural killer cells in their uterine mucosa than controls and that those with the highest levels have a correspondingly high rate of miscarriage in subsequent pregnancies. We now offer NK cell percentage and absolute count in human peripheral blood and uterine tissue. However, several studies propose that it is not the number of NK cells present but rather their activity that can ultimately determine whether these cells will have a detrimental effect on pregnancies or not. To address this issue, we also provide a test where we measure the percentage and absolute numbers of activated NK cells utilizing established NK activation markers.
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