All of the cells within the human body have specific physical properties such as size, complexity and surface markers. By analysing cells in the body to determine which markers are present, it is possible to distinguish different cell types from one another, even if under the microscope, they may look very similar.
A flow cytometer is used to do this, which, with the help of special reagents and dedicated software, can provide essential information on the type of cells present in a patient’s sample.
Although the physical properties of almost any cell in the body can be analysed by flow cytometry, we are primarily concerned with the blood cells found in the peripheral blood and bone marrow.
Tests performed in the flow cytometry laboratory
This test is performed on patients who have been diagnosed with HIV to monitor the progress of their disease and their response to treatment.
Rituximab monitoring (B cell count)
This test is used to monitor patients who are on rituximab for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis or certain haematological diseases (as directed by a haematologist).
Leucocyte Immunophenotyping for leukaemia and lymphoma diagnosis (Cell Markers)
These are complex flow cytometry tests and are performed by the North East Haemato-oncology Diagnostic Service (NEHODS) in Newcastle.
These three tests are all referred on to the Haemato-oncology Diagnostic Service (NEHODS) in Newcastle. For further information on these tests please refer to the Lymphocyte Surface Markers page on Newcastle Laboratories website.
HLA-B27 antigen status can be used as a diagnostic indicator for several autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases including ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis and anterior uveitis.
This test is referred to Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, NHS Blood & Transplant. For further information please refer to the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, NHS Blood and Transplant website.