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The Blood Center’s Diagnostix division performs testing on and coordinates testing of samples from individuals other than blood donors.
This testing can be anything from an HIV screen a doctor orders on one of his patients, to infectious disease testing of a future mother undergoing in-vitro fertilization, to performing environmental sterility testing on equipment used for tissue and stem cell processing.
The client base for Diagnostix is much more diverse. Hospitals, clinics, reproductive clinics, and tissue and stem cell processing facilities are examples of the types of entities that Diagnostix caters to.
ImmuKnow measures the activity of a specific set of white blood cells called CD4 cells. It can be used to determine the immune status of patients with HIV, cancer patients, organ and tissue transplant recipients, or anyone who is considered immunocompromised.
CD4 cells are important in cases where clinicians are trying to get an idea of how healthy a persons immune system is. If CD4 cells are working at a lower level than expected, then a person would be more prone to diseases. If CD4 cells are working at a higher level than expected, then this indicates that the immune system is trying to destroy something, such as an infection, or, in cases of transplant recipients, a new organ or tissue.
Previously, the only tools available to clinicians to determine the status of an individual’s immune system was to perform white blood cell counts and/or CD4 counts and correlate the results with the patient’s symptoms. These counts are not always reliable because the white cells present may not be working properly. While the number of CD4 cells may be in the normal, or even high range, factors such as anti-rejection drugs given to transplant recipients, chemotherapy, and radiation can make the cells present slow to respond to infection.
ImmuKnow adds another perspective for clinicians in that it stimulates the CD4 cells present in a patient’s sample, thus imitating an infection. ImmuKnow then measures the amount of a chemical (ATP) the CD4 cells produce in response to the stimulation. The amount of ATP being produced can tell the clinician what condition the immune system is in, regardless of how many CD4 cells are present.
For more information regarding ImmuKnow, or any other testing available through Diagnostix, please contact Diagnostix Customer Service at 504-593-1902.