Immunoassays Hang In
Immunoassays are important in the IVD instrument market and have been crucial in clinical lab medicine since the mid-1960s. Immunoassays are used to diagnose and monitor diseases & conditions. Among the different types of immunoassays:
- Enzyme Immunoassays
- Bead Arrays
- Immunoassays employing mass spectrometry
Since the publication of the human genome, immunoassays have been revitalized, generally referred to as post-genomic medicine. Post-genomic medicine employs tests based on protein, and nucelic acid targets derived from human genome research. Gene identification comes first, followed by detecting physiological elements such as proteins, hormones, and enzymes expressed by genes.
Proteins, enzymes, coenzymes, and other cellular elements are major players in metabolic pathways that promote and predict disease evolution. This combination of genes, proteins, and pathways makes for a comprehensive toolbox for post-genomic science.
Coagulation: A Mixed Bag
Hemostasis (stopping blood flow) regulates blood flow and clot formation with enzymes and proteins, relying on coagulation, fibrinolysis, and platelet aggregation. Anticoagulant drugs prevent platelets from clumping, reducing the risk of arteries clogging and in turn stroke or heart attack.
The coagulation discipline is in the limelight thanks thanks to the discovery that coagulation factors are independent from the development of myocardial infections, strokes and deep vein thrombosis, cancer, inflammatory syndromes, and obstetric complcations. Conditions in which coagulation factors are implicated include:
- Post-surgical bleeding due to Aspirin or Plavix
- Spontaneous abortion
- Pregnancy issues
In vitro diagnostics market’s coagulation segment is a mixed bag of routine tests and intensive investigation of abnormal tests with genetic markers and special immunoassays run on dedicated coagulation analyzers and core lab chemistry & immunoassay instruments.
Histology: Traditional Key to Cancer Testing Threatened
Histology and cytology study tissues and cells, respectively. Histoligical analyses of tissue involve pre-analytical sample preparation and advanced staining.
Histology processes cervical fluids, sputum, and tissue that has been biopsied. Specimens are stained on glass slides to characterize targeted cellular constructions, tissue morphology, and cell componenets. Technologists read the slides using microscropy, while pathogists examine slides with suspicious cells. Histological tests primarily test tissue for cancer, or cervical fluid for infectious agents. Biopsied organs or tissues are processed and analyzed similarly.
Pathologists identify tumor sources in most cancer cases, sometimes confirming cancer without finding the sources. Pathologists employ different techniques to improvide difficult diagnoses, including in situ hybridization (ISH), immunohistochemistry (IHC), immunofluorescence (IF), and molecular analysis of tumor cells.