College of American Pathologists
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  Adaptable chemistry analyzers taking the field


CAP Today




July 2010
Feature Story

Brendan Dabkowski

For Major League Baseball teams, finding players that can field as well as they hit is a big part of staying competitive. A team that signs players with credible offensive and defensive skills gets more bang for its buck. And just as baseball teams seek multi-talented prospects, laboratories are demanding versatile analyzers that integrate chemistry and immunoassay testing platforms.

Consolidating immunochemistry analyzers is key in an environment where labs process a multiplicity of tests with fewer staff, says John Coulter, divisional vice president, U.S. Commercial Operations, Abbott Diagnostics.

Of course, “quality of results and efficiency will continue to remain essential requirements for customers,” says Jim Rigo, director of strategic marketing for Beckman Coulter’s Chemistry Business Center. Analyzers that are easy to use, reliable, and backed by top-notch customer service play a vital role in helping labs reduce operating costs and improve patient outcomes, he adds.

The companies in this month’s guide to mid- and high-volume chemistry and chemistry/immunoassay analyzers are arming their new and soon-to-be-introduced systems with a variety of features to help labs face daily challenges.

One such system is The Binding Site’s SPA Plus. The fully automated, high-throughput, turbidimetric protein analyzer, FDA-cleared in 2007 but new to the lineup this year, runs a range of tests, including Freelite serum-free light chain assays; IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD, and IgG subclasses; beta-2-microglobulin; and cystatin C assays, says Faranak Atrzadeh, the company’s director of marketing. To enhance workflow efficiency, she says, the company will soon add more control positions and new calibrator racks to the system. It recently added tube elevators to the analyzer to accommodate different tube sizes.

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics is featuring its Dimension Vista 500 Intelligent Lab System in this month’s product guide. Released last July, the analyzer integrates photometry, electrolyte, nephelometry, and homogeneous immunoassay testing and provides “accurate results and simple, consolidated sample processing,” says Pam Curtin, the company’s marketing manager for Vista systems. Siemens will soon offer expanded connectivity options for its Dimension Vista 1500 Intelligent Lab system.

Beckman Coulter continues to market its AU680 chemistry analyzer, which has a throughput of up to 800 photometric assays per hour and a menu of more than 125 assays. The system is designed to allow for direct sampling from track automation and will soon be able to connect to the company’s automation line, Rigo says. And soon to be released is the AU5840 ultra-high-throughput chemistry analyzer, which the company will showcase at this month’s American Association for Clinical Chemistry Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo. The AU5840 features a broad test menu, including general chemistry, esoteric, therapeutic drug monitoring, drugs of abuse, urine chemistries, and special protein and serology assays, he says. It will be standardized to the company’s AU480 and AU680 chemistry systems.

Abbott Diagnostics released in April the Architect Plus, an upgrade to the company’s Architect line of analyzers, which Coulter says provides enhanced user-friendly software, improved looks, and smaller footprints. Last July, the company released the Architect c4000 clinical chemistry analyzer, which, when combined with the Architect i1000SR, creates the ci4100 chemistry/immunoassay integrated testing platform. The ci4100 can run up to 900 tests per hour and features ChemiFlex, FlexRate, and Smartwash technologies.

On the assay side, says Coulter, Abbott in the past year has launched Architect anti-CCP, a biomarker for rheumatoid arthritis; Architect HE4, a biomarker for ovarian cancer; and Prism Chagas, a test that detects antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi. The company just received FDA approval for its Architect HIV Combo assay, which is a combination antigen/ antibody assay that can detect HIV up to 20 days earlier than other HIV tests now used in the United States, Coulter says.

Awareness Technology plans to release in August its ChemWell-T auto chemistry and turbidity analyzer, which, says sales and marketing manager Rob Guerin, is a random-access, open system capable of running 100 tests per hour. The system (not included in the accompanying product guide) will come with easy-to-use plug-and-play software and a complete quality control package, with the capability to design custom reports.

Roche Diagnostics is expecting FDA 510(k) clearance later this year for its next-generation high-volume integrated platform, the Cobas 8000 modular analyzer series, which includes the Cobas c 701 and Cobas c 502 clinical chemistry modules. The Cobas c 701 is designed to offer a “theoretical system throughput of 2,000 photometric and 1,800 ISE tests per hour, with 70 assay positions onboard,” says Ed Gilligan, the company’s systems group marketing manager. The Cobas c 502, he says, is designed to run 600 photometric tests per hour, with 60 assay positions onboard. The company also recently launched three therapeutic drug monitoring assays—lithium, quinidine, and amikacin—that run on the Cobas c 501 chemistry analyzer.

Finally, Carolina Liquid Chemistries’ BioLis 24i benchtop chemistry analyzer now runs both qualitative and quantitative drugs of abuse tests, the GlycoMark assay (1,5-anhydroglucitol) to assist endocrinologists with managing diabetes, and the PLAC immunoassay test, which detects Lp-PLA2, a biomarker for stroke and cardiovascular disease, says Patricia A. Shugart, MT, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. The company will introduce this month a premium version of the BioLis 24i, which uses less reagent and comes with user-friendly software.

CAP TODAY’s guide to mid- and high-volume chemistry and chemistry/immunoassay analyzers includes products from the aforementioned manufacturers and from Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics and Randox Laboratories. Readers inĀ­terĀ­ested in a particular analyzer should confirm it has the stated features and capabilities.

Brendan Dabkowski is CAP TODAY associate editor.

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